BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Former Australia Test captain Steve Smith has backed Barbados Tridents to break their three-year title drought and win this year’s Caribbean Premier League.
The 29-year-old, currently serving a one-year ban from international and Australian domestic cricket, is part of the Tridents squad who open their campaign in the popular T20 tournament in Georgetown on Sunday against Guyana Amazon Warriors.
“I don’t see any reason why the Tridents can’t go the whole way. It’s a good side, it’s got a good balance of players, some seriously talented players – overseas and West Indians – so it’s a good squad and hopefully we can go the full distance this year,” Smith said.
“I’m looking forward to playing in my first CPL. I had a great training session with the boys on Tuesday and got to meet a few of them. It’s a good bunch of guys so I’m looking forward to this tournament and hopefully I’ll be able to make a good impact on the Tridents.”
Tridents last won the tournament in 2014 but have struggled in recent seasons, leading to a revamp of the franchise.
Kieron Pollard, who led them for five years, has moved on to St Lucia stars and West Indies Test and one-day captain Jason Holder, has taken over the captaincy.
Holder is one of nine Barbadians in the lineup, with the likes of Test stars Roston Chase and Shai Hope also included, along with veteran T20 star Dwayne Smith.
Australian Smith headlines four overseas players in the squad, joining South Africa’s Hashim Amla, New Zealander Martin Guptill and Pakistan’s Mohammed Irfan, and said he believes they can play a key role in the Tridents’ success.
“I’m looking forward to playing with Hashim. I’ve played against him a lot and he’s a class player. I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes about his business,” Smith said.
“There’s Jason Holder the West Indies captain, Shai Hope who looks a quality young player as well, and I’m looking forward to playing with these guys and seeing what I can learn off them as well.”
Smith has dominated the Test arena in recent years and holds the highest average of any modern-day batsman with 61.37. He has also amassed 6199 runs from just 64 matches with 23 hundreds.
He has also adapted well to the shortest format, already with a hundred under his belt, and said success in T20s did not call for a massive adjustment.
“I don’t change my game a great deal between formats, probably just turning different gears,” he pointed out.
“Obviously in T20 cricket you need to go a little bit harder than in the other forms so just having those gears and making sure I’m trying to be as smart as I can with my batting and hopefully have an impact for the team.
“I wouldn’t say I have any personal performance targets. I would just like to help the Tridents win games of cricket and enjoy myself over here.”
The sixth edition of the CPL started last Wednesday and runs until September 16.