Nathan Smith is only 17, but he has already played First class cricket. The captain of the Waiktai Boys’ High School First XI recently appeared for Otago in the Plunket Shield and preformed extremely well dismissing two Black Caps. Additionally he was New Zealand’s best preformed bowler at the World Under-19 Championships in India. He took seven wickets in five matches at an average of 26.
When did you start playing Cricket?
I started playing cricket when I was four years old. My older brother who is three years older than me played so I guess I looked up to him as a youngster and wanted to do the things he did.
Tell us about your success at Waitaki BHS?
Waitaki’s season was a very good one. We won our senior club 50-over competition for the first time since 1967/68. We also made the final of the First XI Cup in our region (Otago/ Southland) for the first time in a long time. This year has been very positive as we haven’t been strong in recent times, but this season we’ve really peaked. We have great juniors coming through so hopefully they can continue the success.
My best batting for Waitaki is 168 not out in a junior Interschool against Timaru Boys’. For the First XI I haven’t managed a ton. My best score is 91 not out while my best bowling is 9-21 against Timaru Boys.’
Note: His remarkable haul included a double hat trick – four wickets in four balls .
Tell us about your call up for Otago, was it a surprise?
I got a phone call from the coach Nathan King a week before the penultimate round of the Plunket Shield. He said he wanted to involve me in the last two games of the season so I was 12th man for the Volts against the Central Stags in Dunedin on March 23rd. King then said I would travel to Whangarei and he would try his best to play me and fortunately the day of the game he gave me the nod just before warm ups.
Tell us about your First Class Debut?
My first class debut match, and so far only appearance for Otago, was against the Northern Knights at Cobham Oval, Whangarei. I got three runs with the bat which was disappointing, but took 3-80 off 27 overs with the ball. My first wicket was a full length ball that nipped back off the seam to trap Dean Brownlie (Black Cap) in front. My second wicket was Anton Devcich (Black Cap). I came round the wicket and he played across the line and he was hit in front as well. My third wicket was Daryl Mitchell, he inside edged a full ball onto his pad that ballooned up to gully for an easy catch.
Why was New Zealand not very successful at the Under-19 World Cup?
The conditions weren’t what we were used to. It was very spinner friendly and we struggled a lot to rotate the strike against good spin, this troubled us as we faced a lot of spin over there. We got better at playing spin as the World Cup progressed, but too little too late as they say.
Who have been the most important supporters for your cricket?
Family for sure, lots of support. Coaches for the technical and tactical support and My Waitaki Boys and North Otago Manager Hamish McMurdo for the help with the mental side of things, as cricket is a heavily impacted by your mind.
Note: Alimuddin is the youngest player to ever play first class cricket. He made his debut for Rajasthan aged only 12 years 73 days in 1942. Black Cap Corey Anderson debuted at 16 for Canterbury, while Jeff Wilson was in his teens when he first played for Otago.
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