Benjamin Francis Smith
April 03, 1972, Corby, Northamptonshire
Right hand bat
Right arm medium
Kibworth High School
A short, stocky right-handed batsman, Ben Smith came up through the Leicestershire youth system to make his first-class debut in 1990 and then go on the England Under-19 tour to New Zealand that winter. He impressed immediately with the quality of his strokeplay and clean hitting, which made him equally adept at both championship and one-day cricket. His outstanding fielding is also a very positive asset in both forms of the game. He was in danger of becoming pigeonholed as a one-day specialist before he blossomed in 1996, scoring 1243 runs at 47.80, as Leicestershire won the first of two titles in three years.
The limited-overs tag disappeared with solid performances in subsequent seasons. But despite being Leicestershire's vice-captain, he quit the county (which was by then in considerable turmoil) and moved to Worcestershire where he made an immediate impression, succeeding Graeme Hick as captain in 2003. He caused a stir when he stepped down as skipper - mid-match - in August 2004, saying he wanted to concentrate on his batting. At the time he resigned he was already averaging almost 59 in the Championship that year and continued to be a consistent run-maker for several further seasons.
Smith brought up the 40th first-class ton of his career, 203 against Somerset at Taunton, in 2006, but it was to be his final century. His season average slipped under 30 in 2007, with a high score of 98 not out, and his returns began to tail off thereafter. After twenty years of first-class cricket, and more than 18,000 runs, Smith called time on his career at the end of the 2010 season. It was immediately announced that he would continue to play a role at Worcestershire as assistant coach.
He left New Road to become Leicestershire's batting coach in December 2010.
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