Deccan Gladiators‘ fast bowler Odean Smith has made quite the mark in the Abu Dhabi T10 with his batting prowess lower down the order.
And it’s not by chance. The West Indian has consciously been working on his power hitting in the nets, as he believes players with all-round abilities augment their chances of selection in this format.
Odeon Smith currently has 109 runs from 6 innings’ in the Abu Dhabi T10, with a healthy average north of 35. The 25-year-old hasn’t been shy about playing his shots as well, accruing 10 sixes so far in the competition.
“In the modern game, all bowlers are required to come lower down the order and score quick runs,” Smith said. “T20 is in demand for all-rounders. I have been working on my all-round game.
“If I get a chance to bat, my job is to hit balls for boundaries. It is very good for bowlers to do some work on their batting so they can go on out there and hit a few,” he said.
Recalling his sensational 130m six against the Bangla Tigers last week that went viral on social media, Smith said that he anticipated what left-arm pacer James Faulkner was going to bowl and he was ready to launch that one out of the stadium.
Odean Smith cleared his foot and swung hard at a slower one from Faulkner, and ended up scoring the biggest six in the history of the Abu Dhabi T10 off that delivery.
“I actually knew what he was going to bowl. I was just trying to keep up my shape and keep my eye on the ball. I just hit it as hard as I could,” he said.
Bowling in the blockhole
Speaking on the challenges he faces in the T10 format, Smith said that a bowler has to attempt to execute perfect yorkers to avoid getting hit for runs.
“It’s quite difficult to come up with strategies. You have to assess the conditions quickly. Most bowlers try to execute at least 8 yorkers in their spell. It is a good strategy.
“But you have to nail those yorkers. It is a batsman’s game. Batsmen are not going to block a few balls. They are going to start hitting from the first ball,” he said.
Odean Smith also revealed how playing the T10 format has helped raise his confidence levels going into the T20 format when he plays for the West Indies away against World Cup semi-finalists Pakistan.
He will be playing in his first T20I game since 2018 in that series, and would hope that this experience bodes well for his forthcoming International exploits.
“The T10 is a good format for players like me who can come and challenge themselves against world-class batsmen. You only have 12 balls and the execution has to be perfect. You bowl 12 good bowls here, then you go to the T20 stage and you realise you don’t have to think too much about two overs. Your confidence level goes up,” Smith added.
“We will be playing ODIs and T20Is in Pakistan. The T10 is a bit shorter. Pakistan is a very good team. They have some of the best batsmen in the world right now. Dealing with the pressure of a T10 format will really help me when I go down there bowling against those guys,” said the pacer.
Odean Smith has played all 10 games for his T10 franchise this season, and has picked up six wickets so far in the competition, and would hope to better that bowling record going forward in the competition.