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Full name Neil Smith
Born April 1, 1949, Ossett, Yorkshire
Died March 3, 2003, Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England (aged 53 years 336 days)
Major teams Cheshire, Essex, Yorkshire
Batting style Right-hand bat
Fielding position Wicketkeeper
|List A span||1970-1989|
Neil Smith died of cancer on March 3, 2003, aged 53. Smith served a fouryear apprenticeship as Yorkshire's Second Eleven wicket-keeper and seemed the natural successor to the long-serving Jimmy Binks in 1970 but, after a shaky start, was usurped in mid-season by 18-year-old David Bairstow, who took his A-Levels at 7 a.m. so he could play. Bairstow established himself, and Smith moved to Essex to succeed Brian Taylor in 1973 and spent the next eight years as a stalwart of that famously perky dressing-room. Technically, many thought him a better gloveman than Bairstow, but he was on the large side, and irritated Graham Gooch by eating a lot and getting larger. This helped his often beefy batting, which had minimal backlift but considerable power: Essex occasionally used him as a pinchhitter long before the term was ever used. In 1981, he lost form and was again ousted in mid-season, this time by David East. Smith captained the second team for a season then went back north to go into business.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
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