The Pakistan Super League (PSL) is not only providing local cricketers with the opportunity to develop their skills but it has also become a learning opportunity for foreign cricketers who are participating in the league.
England’s uncapped cricketer Will Smeed is one of them.
In an exclusive interview to Geo News, England’s former U19 player said that PSL is an awesome opportunity for him to improve his game.
Smeed represented England U19 on tour to Bangladesh in 2019. PSL is his first franchise-based tournament outside England where he’s wearing the Quetta Gladiators jersey. He has also represented Somerset county and Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundreds.
The 20-year-old cricketer added that he’s enjoying his time in Pakistan.
“It’s been an awesome opportunity for me, I think it’s definitely allowed me to improve parts of my game that needed improving. And, I feel like coming out here fast tracks that improvement. The bowling standard is awesome, and it’s a different condition, I think everything sort of adds up to it being a great learning opportunity as well as a great opportunity to play,” said the Englishman who has yet to make his international debut for England.
“The first thing I noticed when I came here was the local talent and especially the fast bowlers, I think every team has people bowling, over 140ks. And, obviously, there are turning pitches. So, a bit playing spin over here is very different from back home and I think that’s where most of my learnings take place has been that how can I become more effective against spin and what does an effective game plan against spin looks like for me,” he mentioned.
The Englishman also praised the arrangements in Pakistan for the tournament and hoped for an amazing time for Pakistani fans when Australia tours here later this month. “From the moment I got here, I felt so welcome and so well looked after. I’ve felt completely safe the whole time. There have been no times where I’ve been wired or anything like that. And you can tell how passionate the country is about cricket as well. It must be awesome for people here to have cricket back here and especially with Australia coming soon that’ll be amazing for the country,” he said.
Will Smeed has impressed everyone with his aggressive batting skills, he came close to scoring a century twice but fell short on both occasions – both against Zalmi with scores of 97 and 99. The youngster said that missing the century wasn’t frustrating for him, but losing the match was. “For me, the frustration didn’t come from missing my 100, It came from losing both those games. I’ve never played cricket for individual milestones. It’s always been about winning as a team and to lose both those games was gusting. It made no difference whether I got 97, 99 or 100 to me as long as we were winning, I’d be happy,” he said.
Replying to a question, the top order batter said that sharing a dressing room with legend Sir Viv Richards has been awesome.
“He’s a legend of the game. So, he’s been a great person to learn from and he’s awesome to have around. He brings great energy. And if you just want to have a chat, you can have a chat with them. If you want to talk about cricket, he’s always happy to talk about that. So yeah, he’s a great man,” Smeed mentioned.
The young batter was aware of the fact that many England cricketers played for the PSL before making their international debut for the country and hoped the same for himself but added that with England’s white-ball squad looking so strong, he’s not sure how quick he would be roped in the team. “I think that the England white-ball squad at the moment is so strong, and as I said, for me, it’s just about performing and the games I’m playing in and seeing where that can take me. I think there’s a long list of guys above me who still aren’t playing. So, will see how this summer goes. But should the opportunity arise, I, by anyone’s hand-offs, come back here and play for England. I think representing your country is every cricketer’s goal,” he mentioned.
“I think for me, at the moment, it’s just about performing in the games I’m playing and not thinking too much about anything else. Obviously, the fact that those guys played here before making their debuts, sort of brings it closer to home. But for me, it’s just about going out and performing for whoever I’m playing for,” he concluded.
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