Cedric Ivan James Smith
August 25, 1906, Corsham, Wiltshire
February 08, 1979, Mellor, Lancashire, (aged 72y 167d)
Also Known As
Big Jim Smith
Right hand Bat
Right arm Fast
Cedric Ivan James Smith, known universally as Big Jim Smith, died at his home near Blackburn on February 8, aged 72. Born at Corsham, he played for Wiltshire from 1926 until 1933, but, having been on the staff of Lord's since 1926, came to the notice of the Middlesex authorities, who persuaded him to qualify for them. To the general public he was at that time unknown and his first season, 1934, was a triumph. With 172 wickets at an average of 18.88, he came sixth in the first-class bowling averages and played for the Players at Lord's. That winter he was a member of the MCC side to the West Indies, a great honour for a player with so little first-class experience. He played in all the Tests on this tour and gave some sensational displays of hitting. His only other Test match was against New Zealand at Old Trafford in 1937. He continued as a very valuable member of the Middlesex side until 1939, and in his six seasons for the county he took 676 wickets at 17.75. Standing six feet four inches and immensely strong, he had the cardinal virtue of bowling at the stumps and revelled in long spells of bowling.
Yet fine bowler and fieldsman that he was, he will surely be remembered most as a batsman whose entry always roused a hum of excitement. His principal stroke (perhaps his only one!) was to advance the left foot approximately in the direction of the ball and then swing with all his might. If the ball was well up (and the foot on the right line) it went with a low trajectory an astonishing distance. Against Gloucestershire at Bristol in 1938 he reached 50 in eleven minutes; disregarding one instance which the connivance of the bowlers rendered farcical, this is a record for first-class cricket. Against Kent at Maidstone in 1935 his 50 took fourteen minutes. In comparison to these herculean feats, his one century, 101 not out against Kent at Canterbury in 1939, was a sedate performance, taking eighty-one minutes! He added 116 for the last wicket with Ian Peebles, his own share being 98.
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