DateLine: 14th December 2006
In many ways Tom Smithís progress to the England academy has been carried out the modern way, for while he certainly had a good first full season as a county player in 2006, his international potential has been developed to a large extent at national representative level, rather than on the county circuit.
Smith started playing as a regular in the Lancashire reserves aged 18 as a middle order batsmen and medium pace bowler. After a good season he want to India with the England under 19ís finding runs and control in his bowling on less than helpful pitches.
Called up for the U-19ís against Sri Lanka at home in 2005 he impressed both with bat and ball, finishing the season with a one day start for his county against Essex.
In 2006 with Flintoff and Mahmood on international duty, Jimmy Anderson injured and Lancashire utilising just one overseas player, Smith was drafted into the first team in April and stayed there. His early season four and one day performances demonstrated solid wicket taking potential, though his batting was not as impressive a feature as promised. An academy tour spot winner in 2006, the talented Smith may find himself under pressure to find a few extra miles an hour of pace if he is to fit into the increasingly fast bowling dominated international game.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2006 John Dobson)