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Will looks back on a remarkable 18 months

It’s been a remarkable 18 months for Will Smeed.

The young batter, who turned 20 this week, made his debut for the Club in 2020, signed his first professional contract a few months later and went on to become a vital component of Somerset’s Vitality Blast side in 2021.

We caught up with him to talk about his sudden rise to prominence.

“Crazy is probably the only way that you could describe it,” he said. “Everything has happened so quickly and I’m just trying to ride the wave. At some point soon I’m sure I’ll take a step back, look at what’s happened and start to really appreciate it. If you’d have told me 18 months ago that I would have done all this I wouldn’t have believed you. If you had offered me what happened this season at the start of the year, I’d have bitten your hand off.

“The way things went for me in 2020 gave me the confidence that I could perform at this level. One of things I wanted to improve on this year was my consistency. I feel like I did that but without making a big score like I did the year before. The next step is to try and figure out how to get consistently big scores. I’m still learning quite a lot about what my game looks like, but that is the goal. 2020 gave me a taste of what being a First XI player is about, and it helped me mould my training during the winter.

“2021 was a season of two halves for me. I don’t think that I started particularly well, but halfway through the year my luck changed and it went well from there. I stuck at it when it wasn’t going well for me, and you need a bit of luck in cricket sometimes. You can hit one up in the air and it drops in a gap and your innings can go from there. It was frustrating at the start of the year, but I tried to keep a level head and carry on enjoying it, which I managed to do.”

How easily did Will find the transition to the First XI squad?

“I think everyone being here throughout the winter really helped,” he explained. “It meant that we got to know each other pretty well. I was made to feel at home straight away. It was great to see how top players prepare, train and go about their business. There’s a lot of knowledge in the dressing room and everyone is always available if you need to chat. Everyone is always trying to help everybody get better. The senior players are always helping the younger ones.”

2021 saw the return of crowds to sporting venues across the country. How did Will cope with that?

“You’re always more nervous when more people are watching,” he said. “But you always end up enjoying it more. The quarter-final against Lancashire was awesome and a lot of people, including me, will remember that night for a long time. Walking out in front of a full house at Taunton for the first time was amazing. In the past, I’ve been sat in the crowd watching Somerset, so to be on the other side of the fence was brilliant. We love having the Members and supporters back in the ground and we can’t wait to see them again in the summer.

“Finals Day was unreal too. It’s always one of the best days in the calendar and everyone wants to play in it. I feel very fortunate to have done that in my first full year as a pro. We went into that day looking to enjoy it because that’s when we play our best cricket. Obviously, the final didn’t go the way that we wanted it to, but it was still a great learning experience for our young squad, and one that will hopefully help us to get over the line next time.”

Will has been snapped up by Bangla Tigers for this year’s Abu Dhabi T10 League, where he will play alongside Mohammad Amir, Shahid Afridi and Faf du Plessis.

“Hopefully, I’ll get a few games in that and it will go well for me,” he explained. “That might lead to other opportunities, but if it doesn’t, I’ll be working as hard as I can in the indoor school.

“I want to help the team as much as I can in every game that I play. That’s my mindset. This squad is very close to achieving something special and I’m desperate to be a part of that.”

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