From Past Players Event to One Day Cup debut for Kelvin Smith

Less than five months later, Smith was putting another brand-new red cap on, this time for his Marsh One Day Cup debut, that he was making in a final no less.

It has been a whirlwind few weeks for Smith, who after playing 20 Sheffield Shield matches for the West End Redbacks between 2013 and 2019, was parachuted into the Redbacks’ Marsh Cup Final squad.

He travelled to Perth not expecting to play and had the main intention to help the team prepare for the game – and he did that, bowling off-spin for half an hour to the batters warming up in the nets and retrieving balls for the slip cordon during their fielding warm up.

The coin had already been tossed, but about 15 minutes before the first ball, Smith started to sense something wasn’t quite right.

Opening bat Jake Carder had unfortunately pulled his hamstring taking a high catch on the boundary and the coaching staff were scrambling to work out the best option to replace him.

Ultimately, it was decided that Smith was best placed to slot into the opening spot alongside Henry Hunt and it was a wild 15 minutes from there.

“Dizzy (head coach Jason Gillespie) came straight up to me and said ‘mate you’re playing’ and that was a bit of a stunning experience, you just don't expect that kind of thing,” Smith said.

“I pretty much just whacked on my clothes and then ran down quickly to go get a couple extra catches.

“Someone asked if I’d played a game yet and I was like ‘nup’, so they swiftly put together a cap presentation and I think Harry (Nielsen) did a pretty good job considering he would have had no time to prepare.

“And that was nice because I've spent a lot of time over the years playing with Harry, so I appreciated that.

“I obviously felt terrible for Jake Carder who I met over in WA and got along with, but for me, it was an incredible experience to be a part of a One Day Final and I loved being part of it and helping the team as well.”

After being set a big run chase, Smith went out there with freedom and made a quick-fire 44 runs off 34 balls and although the Redbacks didn’t come away with the win, Smith impressed enough to be named in the squad for the final Sheffield Shield match of the season.

So, five months after getting a new Baggy Red at the Past Player event, Smith pulled on his old, faded Shield cap that had already seen 20 matches worth of sun and contributed another 46 runs.

Smith himself has had a bit of a laugh about the fact he had two different caps to choose from for his return Shield match.

“I did consider maybe wearing the new one for the Shield game, but I figured I should keep that one nice and clean so that I can have it up somewhere and use this dirty one with all the sweat and get that even dirtier,” he said.

“It’s been quite funny. I’m still playing cricket and I’m enjoying it and in my own head, I still believe that I was good enough to be at that level, but the fact is that I was technically a past player at that point.

“The day at Adelaide Oval, that was such a great day though, there was a lot of people that I haven't seen for a very long time and my brother was also there so I got to enjoy good day with him.

“Receiving the cap was pretty special but I’ve been lucky enough to be at a Past Player day and then play two games within the space of a few months.”

Now, Smith’s focus has turned back to Premier Cricket, as he is about to embark on First Grade finals with his West Torrens side and he’ll take this last Redbacks experience with him.

“It's always good to be able to play at that level and it always throws you so many challenges playing, so definitely having that experience so recently hopefully holds me in good stead to be able to contribute again for West Torrens,” Smith said.

“Hopefully I can contribute to a little bit more success and another two weeks of good cricket and hopefully we can enjoy some team success with West Torrens again.”

West Torrens are taking on Kensington in the first week of finals, while Port Adelaide and Adelaide University will play in the other final.

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