Tall, aggressive, and powerful, Dwayne Smith shares his name with, among others, the wide receiver for the Wisconsin Badgers, and the winner of the 2002 World Championship of Public Speaking. But when, in December 2003, he was called up to join the West Indian Test squad in South Africa, he was arguably as well known in cricket circles as either of them. All that changed, however, on the final day of the third Test at Newlands, where he brought the calypso back to Caribbean cricket with a wonderful debut century. Smith had been given a surprise opportunity – ahead of his Grenadian namesake Devon – when Marlon Samuels flew home with a knee injury. It was rumoured that Viv Richards had recognised something of himself in the stance of the young Barbadian and, sure enough, he needed just 93 balls to justify his selection, bringing up his hundred with a crashing cover-drive. It was only the second century of Smith’s first-class career, but it was enough to stem West Indies’ run of seven consecutive defeats in South Africa.
Maintaining such high standards for longer periods was difficult for Smith. He played his last Test for West Indies in May 2006, but continues to be active in limited-overs cricket. He made the West Indies XI in only one of their matches when they won the World T20 in 2012, but was their designated opening batsman in the next edition of the tournament. He was part of the squad that played a home World Cup in 2007 and he was there again, eight years later, when the tournament was held in Australia.
Smith can rival the best hitters in the game when in top form, although quality swing bowling does cause some problems. He is quite sought after in various Twenty20 leagues as well. Smith was part of a Mumbai Indians side that won the IPL and Champions League T20 double in 2013, moved to Chennai Super Kings in 2014 and was acquired by Gujarat Lions in 2016. His 73 off 51 balls led Islamabad United to the inaugural Pakistan Super League title in 2016. He can also fill in as a seam bowler, and has a knack for surprising batsmen with his pace.
ESPNcricinfo staff April 2016