Indian Premier League 2022 – “Andre Russell Has Always Been My Inspiration”: PBKS’ Odean Smith To NDTV

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The fans across the globe got to see what Odean Smith is all about when he played that match-winning knock of 25 runs off eight balls to take Punjab Kings over the line against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday at the Wankhede Stadium. Speaking to NDTV, Odean Smith opened up on his expectations from the ongoing season and he also named Andre Russell as his inspiration. The West Indies all-rounder also said that he wants to use the ongoing tournament to learn and grow as a player.

“I think Andre Russell is one of those I have looked up on. We have a similar role to play in most T20 games and in terms of bowling fast and then hitting a few boundaries at the back end of the innings. He has been an inspiration to me. I think he will always be that inspiration to drive me to go forward,” Smith told NDTV.

When asked about his knock against RCB and whether it will hold him in good stead in the entire competition, the 25-year-old said: “Well, I helped my team to register victory against the RCB but I am not going to say that this performance will hold me in good stead in the entire competition. I have a lot of work to do and as a team, we have stuff to do. I just went out there and I knew what I had to do and that was to get bat onto the ball. That is exactly what I did out there.”

In the game against RCB, Odean Smith bowled a delivery at a speed of 148.8 kmph and it is one of the fastest deliveries this season. Smith said that bowling fast is his passion, but the important thing is to execute well rather than to keep bowling fast.

“Yes, I have always been passionate about bowling fast. But at the end of the day, it is not on the top of my list. It is more about execution than bowling fast. But it has always been a passion to run in and bowl fast,” said Smith.

“It has been great so far. PBKS are a very good team, there is a lot of youthful exuberance in this team which makes us that X-factor in this competition. It has been good since I have been here, hopefully we will have the same energy in the entire competition. I have not played much franchise competition. I have only played the CPL. IPL is one of the best T20 leagues in the world in terms of players and the quality of players,” he stated further.

The West Indies all-rounder reserved some high praise for skipper Mayank Agarwal, saying the PBKS leader knows how to maintain his cool under pressure. “Mayank is a very cool guy, very cool-headed captain. He is one of those players who stay cool under pressure. I have spoken to him a lot during the training sessions in terms of batting and it has been good talking to him. He is a great captain,” said Smith.

This season, PBKS have also roped in a power-hitting coach Julian Wood but Smith remarked that he already has a lot of power so his discussions with the coach have been a little on the technical side.

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“I am already a strong person, so the power-hitting coach has told me a little bit of technical stuff, in terms of keeping my shape and all that. There have a been few things I have had to work on, nothing that technical. I am already a powerful guy, there have been only a few things that I have worked on with him,” said Smith.

“To be honest, I would not say that I have a specific player that I look forward to facing in the IPL. It is about taking each opportunity and each game as it comes. As I said, some stuff I worked on with the bowling coach and that is the same stuff, some batters have been telling me. I am already a powerful guy and once I keep my shape, and my head down and watch the ball as long as possible, I do not have to go for power because that is something I already have,” he concluded.

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