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July 10, 2001
Mike Smith has emerged as an option for an injury hit Gloucestershire team prior to Saturday's Benson and Hedges Cup Final.
Smith has hardly played this season suffering from a groin strain, and has even hinted that he may be forced into retirement. But the 33-year-old left-arm swing bowler, who played one Test for England, has had a cortisone injection and will see a specialist today to see if a remarkable comeback is on the cards.
John Bracewell, the Gloucestershire coach explains: "He has had a cortisone injection and is seeing the specialist again on Monday to see whether the specialist has hit the right spot and what the reaction time will be.
"It is normally 10 days before you are allowed to do anything with it - 10 days from the injection is Saturday, the day of the final, and I wouldn't rule him out."
Bracewell admitted that a player in Smith's condition would not normally be considered, but with Jon Lewis ruled out with a possible stress fracture, and Ian Harvey less than 100% fit and carrying a hand injury, the one-day kings are anxious to field as many of their potential match-winners as possible against a very strong Surrey side.
"We wouldn't consider it in normal circumstances, someone like Mike Smith at Lord's could make a telling contribution," Bracewell said.
"If the humid conditions of the last two weeks continue, then Mike Smith is probably the best new-ball bowler in the country to suit Lord's more than anybody else. If there is a weakness in the Surrey line-up, it's their ability to play swing bowling. Mike, Jonathan Lewis and Ian Harvey are swing bowlers.
"That's the downside to our injuries and we will just have to see what the specialist says about Mike," Bracewell continued.
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