While I am beginning to relish the West Indies team’s current success with less hesitation, I am quite convinced that opener Devon Smith’s opportunities are now numbered. He must be told by the selectors to either bat with assurance or insure himself for his post-cricketing career. I am not sure if Devon Smith lacks a big-time temperament for the grander stage, but he is one of international cricket’s conundrums. His regional record is outstanding ‒ hammering centuries at will, thus defining his rich talent. In contrast though, his underachievement at the international level has now become an albatross around the neck of the West Indies team, and he is continuing to be a liability without any promise of redeeming his career. I looked in dismay at his last scoreless innings against India in the current tri-nation one-day series also involving Sri-Lanka, and have to admit that his ordinariness is becoming habitual. Yet he is one of the sweetest timers and cutters of the ball and reminds me of the late Guyana and West Indies opening batsman Roy Fredericks. It will surely be another waste of identifiable talent since his chequered career may soon dissolve into obscurity should he continue with his trend of abysmal failures.
He is close to joining an enigmatic batting list that includes Dave Joseph, Clayton Lambert, Stuart Williams, Roland Holder and Floyd Reifer, all of whom were prolific regional scorers but couldn’t make the transition when they were given the honour of representing the West Indies. On the opposite side, bowlers such as Mahendra Nagamootoo, Clyde Butts, Rajendra Dhanraj and Rawl Lewis also suffered a similar fate. The West Indies team is gradually gaining momentum and respect from their opponents and their T20 World Cup triumph will challenge them to achieve greater feats. How can Devon Smith remain a part of the new dispensation while repeatedly failing to contribute towards the team’s ambitious goals? At age 31 and seemingly still having a selfish bat that is reluctant to dispatch half-volleys or even execute his favourite square-cuts, he now needs to assertively produce as he has promised since he was a teenager, or accede to a permanent exit in the near future.