World Sports Betting Cape Cobras all-rounder Jason Smith, has faced hundreds of throw-downs from coaches Ashwell Prince and Faiek Davids the past few weeks upon his return from the South Africa ‘A’ tour of the United Kingdom.
The 22-year-old’s technique has also been scrutinized on the odd occasion, while the coach, Prince, has asked probing questions about what his game plans or mental approach would be in certain situations.
That is the type of throw-downs any school boy hoping to represent South Africa, would dream about.
Prince, a veteran of 66 tests for South Africa and also a former captain of the Proteas, knows the importance of the right tactical technique and the correct approach to batting.
He is on record as saying that batsmen should cherish their wicket; put a prize on it and not surrender it meekly.
And Smith, to his eternal credit, admitted that his shot selection the South Africa ‘A’ tour to the United Kingdom was not up to scratch.
In many situations, a half volley, long hop or a mediocre bouncer deserved the boundary treatment, but instead, under-par execution gifted the fielding team Smith’s wicket.
In his final four games, he scored 18,3, 14, 43 and 33*.
Smith says although he is not overly concerned that something is amiss in terms of his technique, he wants to improve his shot selection and his attacking play.
“I am a player who likes to take the game forward. I am not someone who goes into my shell. And I don’t intend to change my style of play now that I have had a few low scores.”
But Smith says he is quietly determined to set the record straight during the triangular tour starting at the end of July (there is still uncertainty surrounding the participation of Australia ‘A’ due to commercial in-fighting between the players and authorities).
Smith is considered a potential future South African player, and in his first full franchise season scored 500 runs and captured 20 wickets in the Sunfoil Series. He smashed a century off 88 balls against the eventual Sunfoil Series champions, the VKB Knights.
There is a difference between a gung-ho approach and a tentative one. The middle ground might be a sensible approach, while not leaving a full toss or a wide half volley unpunished.
And that might be the balance that Smith is seeking.
Luckily, the 22-year-old player has very astute cricket minds around him while Prince and Davids are dong the throw-downs.
Davids, for example, has been on record as saying that if Smith can improve his shot selection, he can capitalize on 60’s and transform them to 150’s.
If he does, and produces those big centuries regularly in the forthcoming series, the volumes of runs could do wonders for his self-confidence and his evolution into a potential South African player.