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Shirin Sadikot in Delhi

Batsman and Robin

MI opener Dwayne Smith attributes his consistency to Robin Singh’s inputs

Very rarely can one associate the word ‘consistency’ with the Twenty20 format, be it bowling or batting. The nature of the beast is such that form doesn’t have a big role to play in it. Therefore, when someone shows consistency in T20 cricket, his worth is immeasurable.

Dwayne Smith has been that valuable asset for the Mumbai Indians since a couple of years now. In IPL 2012 and 2013 combined, the West Indian scored 575 runs for the Mumbai franchise at 33.82. This CLT20, Smith has been the backbone of the team, giving them solid and brisk starts, with two fifties.

It was his 59-run knock (38 balls) against Trinidad & Tobago in the second semi-final that saw MI cruise through to the final. The knock was also special because it came against his Caribbean mates, as Smith told clt20.com after MI’s six-wicket win.

Excerpts from his interview:

You’ve played many match-winning knocks for MI. Is this special since it came against fellow West Indians?

I am glad to once again contribute to MI’s win and this one really counts because we had a lot of pressure from some of the guys (of T&T) this morning. It feels great to go one-up against them. But having said that, T&T were yet another team we were up against. I take every team as an equally tough opponent.

Do you feel a little bad for some of your Caribbean friends?

(With a sheepish smile) To be honest, no. They were up against me and I always look to win. It’s good to keep winning.

How have you managed to maintain such consistency in a fickle format like T20?

I will put that down to a lot of practice and preparation. I have a lot to thank our MI batting coach Robin Singh, who has been doing a lot of work with me. Also, I am extremely thankful to Lord Jesus, without whose blessings I wouldn’t have been here. I get the strength and the energy from the spiritual being and that has played a crucial role in whatever I have been able to achieve. It all boils down to being and thinking positive.

Talking about Robin Singh, he knows a thing or two about the Caribbean players from his coaching role with the Barbados franchise in the CPL. What has his input been like?

Robin has been brilliant in that way and his input has been immense. The same goes for (Kieron) Pollard, who is from Trinidad and so knows all the boys of this team really well. Before this match we had a team meeting and a separate bowling meeting in which us Caribbean players helped the team form plans.

What did you tell the MI batsmen about playing Sunil Narine?

You can’t really plan against him. The best way to play him is to watch the ball right from his hand all the time and be as positive as possible. You just have to keep ticking over against him and not go into your shell. You can get the big runs off the other bowlers.

This has been a sort of roller-coaster ride for MI – a loss, a washout and then you had to fight for a place in the semi-final

The washed out game really put us down after we lost our first game to the Rajasthan Royals. But we got a chance to come back and we took it brilliantly. At no point did we think that we are about to get out of the tournament. We worked really hard to get here and now we’ll give it our all to make it a double of IPL and CLT20 this year.

We all had to wait long but the Little Master did show his class today with the bat. The team was waiting for that knock from Sachin Tendulkar?

Oh, we were, and it was a sheer pleasure to watch him bat today from the other end. He’s scored 50,000 runs in cricket now. I wish I could do that!

A word on your opponent in the final – Rajasthan Royals?

They are a fighting team but we know we are a very good team. If we bring our A game in the big finale, we will win it.

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