By Sean Devers
After an inauspicious start to his senior career in November in Trinidad when just managed one wicket from two matches in the 2019 Regional Super50 at an average of 97.00, the genuinely quick Nial Smith made his First-Class debut against the Leewards in January in Antigua and captured 20 wickets from seven matches at an Average of 29.30 with two five-wicket hauls including a best of 6-55 in his first outing at this level.
This was after the 24-year-old was surpringliny dropped from the Squad for the last game against Barbados at Providence but he still able the catch the attention of Chairman of the Cricket West Indies selectors Roger Harper.
Smith, who was born on October 22, 1995 in New Amsterdam, Guyana’s oldest town; gained his senior Limited overs pick on the back of devastating bowling in CGI’s 50-over Franchise league in which only West Indies pacer Ronsford Beaton bowled faster that the son of former National Coach Albert Smith and Tracey Maria Cameron.
Young Nial Smith started well said Harper, while Guyana Jaguars Head Coach Esuan Crandon described the former All Saints Primary School and the Canje Secondary School student as someone who works hard and has a far way to go.
“Well, knowing where I was and to how I did starting my career, I am satisfied. But yeah, I felt I could have done a little better but I just need to work more on my fitness and to become stronger. What I have learnt from playing first class cricket is that it’s not easy and you have to keep a strong mind and keep building on that and it’s all about patience, so eventually it will become easy,” said Smith whose most memorable game was his First-Class debut when he took eight wickets and the Man-of-the-Match award.
“The reason why I think I did so well was because I was training very hard after the super50 tournament, so I was preparing my body and mind for this first class season. I think that was something I didn’t do going into the super50. So as you go along you keep learning from your mistakes and become better in every aspect of your game,” informed the highly talented Smith.
Young Smith’s life growing up in Guyana’s second largest County was similar to boys his age.
“I played a lot in School on the Streets so my life growing up was pretty much normal. My dad always took me to see Regional cricket so I got the chance of being around the famous cricketers and so I wanted to start playing, but my grandmother didn’t want me to play because of school. So I had to get away to go cricket in the evenings and that’s how I first started playing cricket,” Smith said with a chuckle.
Smith, who plays for Tucber Park, made his Berbice U-19 debut in 2014 before making his Regional U-19 debut the same year in a team which included the West Indies U-19 pair of Tagenarine Chanderpaul and Shimron Hetmyer in addition to Kemo Paul and Kemol Savory. That year Guyana was the only team that played unbeaten throughout both competitions to win both titles in the same year for the first time as they dethroned double defending champions Jamaica.
Smith said he has a lot of favorite cricketers but no one specific, he just loves to see the game of cricket played in a thrilling and exciting way. However, his favorite way of dismissing a batsman is by scattering their stumps, while his favorite food is beef, chicken or fish Curry.
“Well, batting, I don’t do so much work as bowling, I focus more on bowling. But batting is key and whenever I get my chance I know I could handle myself with the bat at any point. My goal is to play cricket at the highest level for as long as possible and to let everyone love me for what I do and to entertain my fans,” disclosed Smith who enjoys playing video games, watching movies and playing pools.
Smith, who has the potential, if handled correctly, to become one of the quickest fast bowlers in the Region, says not much people have helped him in a major way apart from his dad and former Chairman of the Berbice Cricket Board and the Guyana Cricket Board, Carl Moore.
“No doubt about these two and you know Mr Moore always keep encouraging me at a young age to keep playing. He kept telling me that I have the talent….and look where I am today so I’ll like to thank them both and to everyone who has given me advice and words of encouragement outside of cricket,” said Smith.
Smith also spoke about how Berbice and in particularly New Amsterdam has been affected by the dreaded COVID-19 Virus. The Mayor and Town Council of New Amsterdam last week Sunday ordered a total lockdown of businesses and religious services in that East Berbice town in order to curtail the spreading of the deadly virus.
Residents are asked to be indoors by 7pm and the Town Council said, “…failure to comply with the new guidelines, the Guyana Police Force will be informed, to take necessary action.”
“Well its affected Berbice badly, nobody expected this and it was all so sudden. Now everyone has to stay at home because of the social gathering rule. The people can’t go out together or anything so, I know a lot of people probably at home sick but we all hope this will end as soon as possible.
I just want to tell everyone to stay at home and help fight this virus, let’s do what’s right and keep our hands clean by washing them steady and let’s fight this together as one,” Smith implored.Asked how he was staying in shape for whenever cricket resumes?
“Well I got some personal programmes the (Guyana Jaguars) physio and trainer Neil Barry send for me to do at home, so I’m staying in shape during this crisis,” answered Smith.
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