12 - Dawyne Smith (West Indies, 2004-06)
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. His batting reflects both his temperament and his youth, as he is still inclined to lose his wicket under the influence of careless strokeplay, and he made starts, but no more, in the next few Tests. His flamboyant hitting is matched by his athletic fielding, while his useful medium-pacers have already tasted some success at domestic level for Barbados. Despite the fact that he eked out runs at a paltry 8.15 in 17 games in the 2006-07 season, he was picked for the World Cup squad and put in a number of good performances with his typically savage hitting. An impressive tour of England in 2007 earned him selection into West Indies' final 15-man squad for September's Twenty20 World Championship and he continued his connection with the shortest format by signing with Mumbai in the Indian Premier League in 2008.
Andrew Miller May 2008
Dwayne Smith | Cricket Players and Officials | ESPN Cricinfo