In Praise of Devon Smith
Thu, Mar 11, '04
MICHELLE MCDONALD chats with spectators at Sabina Park
The crowd cheered for Devon Sheldon Smith as if he was one of their own. Smith, dropped from the West Indies opening position after only four tests against the Australians in 2003, came back with a bang today scoring a fine century against England on day one of the first Test. Smith played his shots to all parts of the ground and the crowd loved every minute of it.
James Brown from Jamaica felt the innings was "majestic, very concentrated, he wasn?t nervous, showed that he has talent and applied himself well to the situation. This is one of the good ones" and he?s seen a lot of centuries in his time.
Reggie Scarlett, former Director of Coaching at WICB who now lives in Grenada where Devon is from said, "I'm a Devon Smith supporter and I?ve been on television in Grenada on both stations saying that they should give him 'carte blanche'. Put him in the team, let him know that he is going to play in the series so he can forget about being dropped because he has been dropped before, and it's paid dividends. He has played beautifully, the pitch has not been easy, it's been seaming around, it?s been overcast with the atmosphere and there he is, 103 not out."
"I feel very proud of him I?m happy. In fact, I might even have a strong drink!? Scarlett declared. Unfortunately, five runs later Smith was out stumped by wicketkeeper Chris Read off Ashley Giles.
Sean Segre, a Jamaican hotelier who travelled into Kingston all the way from the most westerly parish, was full of praises. ?Magnificent! Magnificent! Wonderful!? Going up into a crescendo, he ended by saying ?You could almost say it?s orgasmic!?
A more subdued England supporter, Malcolm, who hails from Solihul in the West Midlands, and journeyed over the hilly Mount Rosser from Ocho Rios, was not disappointed. ?It is an excellent innings, very very good. Very good innings?.
Angelina, from London, England had this to say. ?I think he?s been the West Indies? best player so far today, great for him to get his century. I?ve never watched the West Indies play before, I?ve been reading about the team in the paper on the way here, and he?s the one that has really stood out?. Having seen the classy, confident innings live, Angelina will probably be following the young West Indian?s career keenly when the West Indies tours England this summer. After enjoying a week?s holiday in beautiful Port Antonio to the East, Angelina and her partner were fortunate to cap off their Jamaican holiday with this superb knock.
Dellmar Samuels, Jamaican photographer par excellence, thinks that ?Devon is on form and he?s trying to prove something because he opened for the West Indies against Australia last year and they didn?t continue with him, we don?t know why they didn?t. He made a lot of runs during this [Carib Beer] series and they brought him back and he showed them that he can really bat. I?m impressed. He can hold him own and if he continues in this vein, he will be a good batsman?.
In every cricket match, there are those who have to work. Chief among them are police officers who are stationed all around the ground. The nature of their job causes them to move around quite a bit, but we found one named Marcus who was lucky to be stationed in an area where he could see all of the innings. Said Marcus, ?It was good. During the entire innings he batted like somebody who wanted to be at the crease and he held his wicket well and I give him a high mark for how he played. Good rating?.
Throughout this hazy, gloomy weather day, the West Indies opening batsman brought the crowd lots of sunshine and plenty to cheer about. Hopefully, his team mates can elicit a similar type of reaction from the spectators when the West Indies bowl against the Englishmen on day two.