As CD coach Heinrich Malan's 2IC for more than a week, Ben Smith has noticed the desire of players wanting to hit runs off every ball on the foundation of positivity with the Twenty20 campaign starting this Sunday.

"It's a good current crop at Central Districts of youth and experience and they seem to work very well together," says Smith who finds the age of the players, predominantly on either side of their mid-20s, exciting as well.

The player-centred culture of CD to help mould individuals into what they believe they have potential to be resonates with the Englishman and former Stags batsman.

"I think the batsmen, looking at them at this early stage, are adaptable to all conditions and situations while the bowlers have some very good discipline," he says, taking note of their athleticism in the four-day Plunket Shield match in Napier last week.


"It doesn't look as if we carry anybody because we're not fit enough to play the game."
T20, he says, can be hit-and-miss so it's not all about stumbling across a method of winning because it boils down to the preparation, mindset and a bit of luck.

"If you haven't quite got it right then the tournament has been and gone before you know it."

Starting with impetus is often the ideal catalyst to rack up a rash of victories.

"It seems to be a very good ship and it's sailing and everyone seems to be on board so long may that continue," he says, adding it's a testimony to Malan's three-year tenure.
Smith sees his portfolio as a sounding board.

"It's obviously an advantage for any team to have an extra pair of hands on deck so when you need to do some work off the field there's always someone there to lead and help advise in that area."

He says having an elite professional import, such as retired Sri Lankan international Mahela Jayawardene back for another T20 stint, is godsend.

"These guys talk about him all the time. Going into the white-ball competition they have every right to because he is a legend of the game ... and you wouldn't have expected anything different from player like him."

Smith says even he will benefit from Jayawardene as a coach.

"I have played and coached cricket for a long time now and even so I still learn as the game evolves so these guys are coming fresh from the world and bringing in new excitement for everybody," says the man who coached Leicestershire and Worcestershire county teams.