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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 January, 2004, 09:57 GMT
Windies uncover new star
Colin Croft writes for BBC Sport
By Colin Croft
Former West Indies Test player

Consider this. A young tall aggressive cricketer, Dwayne Smith, comes to South Africa as a replacement player for the injured and homeward bound Marlon Samuels.

Smith impresses the team management with his attitude at the practice sessions, and is asked to make his Test debut in Cape Town. after only a handful of first class cricket games for Barbados.

The West Indies are 2-0 down and facing a whitewash.

Then, with only one previous first-class century, he becomes the second youngest West Indies cricketer; at 20 years and 359 days, to make a Test debut century.

Dwayne Smith
I treat all bowlers anywhere with the same respect
Dwayne Smith

It was a century so wonderful and tumultuous, with stroke-play so pugnacious, described by his captain Brian Lara as "one of innocence and youth and abandon."

George Headley, the youngest ever West Indian to make a debut Test century, would surely be rejoicing from his place of rest.

Smith took the South African bowling apart in his 105 not out, hitting 15 fours and two sixes in only 135 minutes at the crease.

Jamaican Lawrence Rowe, the Guyanese Alvin Kallicharran, both hit centuries on debut in 1972 and are both considered "greats" by many.

The last man before Smith to achieve the feat was Basil "Shotgun" Williams in 1978.

Smith's efforts will be lauded in the Caribbean, but especially so in Barbados.

He plays for the Young Mens Progressive Club over there, a club that also counts former West Indies opening batsman and present Barbados captain Sherwin Campbell as a member.

He is also a very handy medium pace bowler and only a dislocated fourth finger on his right hand, which makes this batting effort all the more remarkable, prevented him from bowling in Cape Town.

Smith is quite intense but very softly spoken.

"I play my cricket simply but I am very positive," he says.

I really would like to dedicate this innings to my family, and especially my mum
Dwayne Smith

"I do the simple things well and hope they work. I simply work hard and try to stick to the task at hand.

"I do not show any deference to the bowlers when it comes to batting. I treat all bowlers anywhere with the same respect and I am very confident."

"I did not set out to get a century per se, but I knew that if I could bat for a while, with my style, there was enough time for me to get a big score and to do something for the West Indies too.

"I am glad of this achievement and I really would like to dedicate this innings to my family, and especially my mum."

Smith played two seasons in the English leagues, firstly for Kington in the Birmingham League where he performed with moderate success.

He then racked up 950 runs and 57 wickets in his second season at West Halton in the Bolton League.

Now he has a tremendous opportunity to return to England in the biggest league of all, Test cricket.


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