Odean Smith thrilled with CSA T20 opportunity
West Indies all-rounder Odean Smith (right) hits down the ground as Ireland wicketkeeper Neil Rock looks on during the third One-Day International at Sabina Park on January 16, 2022. (Photo: CWI Media)

WEST INDIES pace bowling all-rounder Odean Smith says he is thrilled after signing to compete in Cricket South Africa's Twenty20 (T20) league set to start in January.

"I'm really excited to be a part of the CSA T20 League. I've heard good things about South Africa and it's going to be my first time there," said the 25-year-old whose base contract is said to be US$180,000.

"The tournament is new so I'm not sure what to expect, but it will be a good learning experience," Smith, who is not yet assigned a franchise, opined.

The Jamaican is an emerging player in the West Indies white-ball teams, only recently improving his best bowling figures in T20 Internationals three times during back-to-back home series losses to India and New Zealand.

His current top effort of 3-29 came against New Zealand in the West Indies consolation win at Sabina Park in Kingston on Sunday.

Smith, who has played 19 T20 Internationals and five One-Day International (ODI) matches, is a reserve member of the West Indies ODI squad scheduled to face the Black Caps in the series set to start in Barbados on Wednesday.

Brad Gillings, the chief executive officer and managing director of GGSM Sports — the agency which represents Smith — said the CSA T20 league offers another platform for the West Indies all-rounder to showcase his talent.

"This is another opportunity to develop his game on the franchise T20 circuit. It's something we always believed would help to grow his career because of his skill sets.

"This South African league is attracting the biggest talents in the world and it just goes to show how far he has come — and it's testament to all the work he has put in," Gillings told the Jamaica Observer.

A member of the triumphant 2016 West Indies Under-19 World Cup side, Smith had been out of the regional side for three years after making his T20 debut in 2018.

But his electric form in the 2021 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) earned him a West Indies recall later that year. In that CPL T20 campaign he took 18 wickets and was consistently the fastest bowler during the tournament, clocking up to 150 kph. The hard-hitting batsman also contributed useful lower-order runs.

Gillings noted that Smith's workload management is being carefully monitored.

"He's played a lot of cricket since his reintroduction to the international scene so we are selective when it comes on to which tournaments he participates in, to ensure he has enough time for rest and recovery," said the sports agency boss.

— Sanjay Myers

SMITH...I'm not sure what to expect but it will be a good learning experience (Photo: Observer file)
Sanjay Myers

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