Jason Smith has achieved much more the past week than score two half-centuries and capture a five-wicket haul in a Sunfoil Three-day Cup match for Western Province. He has also exorcised the ghosts of self-doubt that can plaque any star after a series of slightly disappointing performances.
Smith represented South Africa A in 2017 after an encouraging 2016/2017 in which he struck 500 runs and captured 20 Sunfoil Series wickets for the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras.
But when he could not convert the 30’s into centuries or capture wickets, and was omitted from the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras team, the soul-searching started.
Smith realised what the source of his shortcomings was. He noticed the elephants in the room, the debilitating factors that denied him more handsome progress.
“I let myself down at the time when representing South Africa A. I was expecting too many things. I was living in the future instead of focusing on things I can control and it got to me a bit,” he said.
“The 63 and 70 against Eastern Province came because of very hard work off the field. Shot selection is pivotal, because I am a type of batsman who doesn’t allow bowlers to get away with bad deliveries,” he said.
Western Province’s last-wicket pair defended dourly for 83 balls to deny Eastern Province the spoils in that semi-professional three-day match as the visitors ended on 234 for nine in pursuit of 302 for a win. But Smith was the mainstay in both innings, and also nipped out 5-77 in the first innings, again underlining his all-round ability.
The 23-year-old former national U19 star says although last season’s 500 runs were decent, he still reflects on the necessity to convert those strong starts into substantial centuries. Those are some of the root causes of his career not achieving lift-off as he wants it to do.
“I think one of my greatest goals is to get back into the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras team before the end of the season, and then scoring a big career-best ton for them. This is what I set out to do,” he says.
His next assignment will be to bolster the top-order of Western Province in the three-day match against KwaZulu-Natal from 14th to 16th December.
“I am not far off my best. I just need to focus on the right things instead of trying too hard,” Smith said about the immediate future.