The game of T20 cricket is hard to predict but for Derbyshire’s Daryn Smit, there was an unexpected twist even before the tournament began.
Smit was preparing to continue his role as Second XI captain when he was told he would be part of the Derbyshire Falcons squad for the Vitality Blast.
The 35-year-old South African has been selected as wicketkeeper for the first six matches in the North Group, a decision which he admits came as a surprise.
“It was out of the blue, I had a chat with Corky (Dominic Cork) and with Houts (Dave Houghton) about a month ago to say what are the plans going forward with T20,” he said.
“Communication has been really good in terms of where I stand with preparation, my role within the Second XI, captaining and helping with coaching so as we approached T20 it was important to get some direction. At that time they both said they were going to look to start with Harv (Harvey Hosein) so I then planned the next six weeks accordingly with a bit of club cricket most weekends.
“Then on Thursday before the Saturday game against Yorkshire at Chesterfield I got the call to say I was going to be added into the squad.
“Because the make-up of the team is such that the keeper is going to have to be up to the stumps for a fair bit of the overs, they wanted me to do that role.
“As I say, it was a bit out of the blue and there are a few clubs unhappy at the moment having to find replacement pros but this is obviously where I want to be playing.
“It’s been great and has reminded me that this is what I love doing, particularly being up to the stumps. Keeping to the fast bowlers is really when my competitive juices start flowing and I’m excited at the opportunity.”
Smit’s committed approach to his role with the second team meant he was ready for the recall to the senior side.
“If I saw Second XI cricket as a bit of a joke and just went through the motions then I might have been caught a little bit short but I try and approach it as if it’s first team cricket and playing at the highest level.
“Importantly because of that role with a lot of youngsters around I try and set a good example and show them the standards I expect as a professional cricketer so with that in mind it’s allowed me to fit back into first team cricket fairly easily.”
The victory at Northampton last week has kept the Falcons in the mix in an open group going into this Friday’s home game against Durham and the return match with Yorkshire Vikings at Emerald Headingley on Sunday.
“I think the nature of the beast in this format of the game from day to day the best teams can win and lose in a matter of 24 hours,” Smit said.
“It just goes to show all it takes is for one person to come off in five overs and it can turn the game on its head.”