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Devon Smith has eyes on happy returns to Windies colours

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Devon Smith is hoping to make the most of what he calls a “golden opportunity” during the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy 2013. The left-handed opener was away from the international stage for three years, but has been recalled following heavy scoring in the recently-concluded WICB Regional 4 Day and Regional Super 50 tournaments.

He was the leading batsman in both competitions with 700 runs at an average of 70 in the first-class championship. He was equally impressive in the 50-over format with 348 runs at 58 runs per innings.

The 31-year-old said: “I feel very confident seeing that I did really well in the four-day and the one-day tournaments and I just have to go out there and play my game and be the Devon Smith I know I can be. In England the ball will swing early on, and as we all know there is never a dull moment when you play cricket in England, it is always entertaining and fascinating and a great place to play.

“I will look to be positive and confident at the crease and make this golden opportunity count in this tournament. The ball will swing especially at this stage of the season in England so you have to make sure you pick up the line early and play the ball as late as possible, look to get in, and make some big runs,” he added.

Smith was speaking on Tuesday as the Windies continued preparations in a bid to capture the International Cricket Council’s Champions Trophy title for the second time. Under Head Coach Ottis Gibson the Windies will be going through their drills at Sagicor High Performance Centre at the 3Ws Oval.

The camp started on Monday and will end on Friday. The team will depart from Barbados on Saturday and have another camp in Cardiff, Wales from May 25 to June 2 as they try to get acclimatised to the foreign conditions.

Smith’s highest score in ODIs came during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 when he made a career-best 107 against Ireland at Mohali. During that tournament he was the highest run-scorer for the West Indies. However, he admitted he was inconsistent in his early days and is looking to make amends.

“This year should be my year, especially the way I started in the four-day tournament and the Super 50. I’m concentrating on converting my good starts into big scores. Before I used to get good starts and then lose my wicket. This year I worked hard at getting in and staying in and carry on to big centuries,” Smith said.

“For West Indies I have not been consistent enough. I’ve had some good innings, but it’s the consistency that has led me down. I’ll be looking to string scores together and contribute in a major way to the team’s success.”

The ICC Champions Trophy will feature eight teams: Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies. The tournament will be played across three venues – Cardiff Wales Stadium, Edgbaston and The Oval from June 6-23.

The Windies have been drawn in Group B alongside the Indians, the Pakistanis and the South Africans. They open against Pakistan on Friday, June 7 at the Oval and return to the famous venue on Tuesday, June 11 to take on India. The final preliminary match will be against the Proteas on Friday, June 14 in Cardiff.