Statistically speaking most players would be satisfied, even exhilarated, by a season return of 500 four-day runs and 20 wickets in their first full franchise season.
Not Jason Smith, though. The 22-year-old batting all-rounder of the Cape Cobras is slightly disgruntled with his own season. Sure, he enjoyed the century off 88 balls against the VKB Knights, but laments the fact that he did not convert three half-centuries into big tons.
“If I had capitalized on good starts, I could have moved closer to the 700-run mark for the season,” he said.
Smith said the Cape Cobras possess almost the perfect environment for a younger player like him to excel in and to move to the next level in four-day and one-day cricket.
He said Andrew Puttick would come to him or any younger player after a soft dismissal and discuss a possible different option.
Stiaan van Zyl, similarly, is keen to discuss the technique and approach to the game with younger evolving players and impart knowledge with them.
“Justin Ontong is similar. He is almost like a batting coach and helps the younger players,” he said.
Ontong was captain of the SA ‘A’ team for a prolonged period in which South Africa twice defeated Australia ‘A’ and drew against a top-order heavy India. He was also skipper of South Africa in a T20 International against the West Indies in Durban in 2015.
Smith said he prefers to play the ball as late as possible, to drive it when it is under his nose. He also likes it when fast bowlers play so-called chin music and tempt him with bouncers.
“But I don’t try to overthink it and get too involved,” he adds.
“One of my dreams this season is to get into the South Africa ‘A’ team. Obviously I would like to take it from there.