OPENER Devon Smith said he is not feeling pressured after he was recalled to the West Indies team to face Sri Lanka in a three-match Test series starting tomorrow, saying he is enjoying his cricket more.
After a three-year hiatus, Smith is expected to be Kraigg Brathwaithe’s opening partner when the first Test match bowls off at the Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair, from 10 am, tomorrow.
Smith last played a Test match for West Indies in 2015 when England toured the Caribbean. Smith has played 38 Test matches, scoring 1,593 runs at an average of 24.50. He has scored one century and six fifties.
West Indies chairman of selectors Courtney Browne said they had no choice but to select Smith after a brilliant Regional Four-Day season last year. Smith amassed a record breaking 1,095 runs at an average of 84, with six hundreds, for the Windward Islands Volcanoes.
Talking to the media yesterday, Smith said he is glad to be back.
“It is a good feeling, it is a good feeling always to represent the West Indies, it is good to be back. I just have to go out there and perform to the best of my ability,” Smith said.
Smith said he has been enjoying his cricket more in recent times, and does not feel pressured to perform going into the series.
Smith said, “I am enjoying my cricket more than before. Before I use to put more pressure on myself, thinking about if I am going to make runs and what is going to happen, but I just have to put all that behind me and be positive. There is all to gain, nothing to lose, everything to gain.”
Smith, who wants to take his regional form into the Test series, says occupying the crease will lead to success in the series.
“I have to get a start, once I get a start I have to try and consolidate. Scoring runs is a matter of occupying the crease…I have been hitting the ball well in the nets and I just have to continue where I left off in the four-day (tournament).”
Smith has shown a weakness against spin bowlers throughout his career.
Sri Lanka’s squad is full of spinners, but Smith said cricket is played on the day and he will execute his innings ball by ball.
Smith said, “It is on the day, it is based on how you feel. They (Sri Lanka spinners) might not be bowling well or they might bowl well, you never know. It is on the day, it is how you play, you play ball by ball, you play the ball on its merit.”
Shannon Gabriel will be leading the fast bowling attack alongside Kemar Roach.
Gabriel said he is looking forward to the first Test saying, “I am pretty confident. I had some time off, I am stronger, fitter and everything went well (in preparation). Coming out on Wednesday I just want to put my best foot forward and everything will take care of itself.”
Gabriel said he is not concerned about the Sri Lankans, but is focusing on his game. “With international cricket now there is video footage, so you just have to sit and plan out what you want to do.
At the end of the day, you can’t think about what they doing, you have to think about your game plan and your preparation and I think I have prepared well.”