Edward Thomas Smith
July 19, 1977, Pembury, Kent
Right hand bat
Right arm medium fast
Tonbridge School, Cambridge University
Commentator, Journalist, Author
The 15th Smith to be selected for England, but the first to have written a book on baseball, Ed Smith demanded selection for the third Test against South Africa in 2003 thanks to his superb county form.
A tall right-hander with a penchant for the drive, Smith picked up six centuries in as many matches for Kent, including a career-best 203 at Blackpool, to become the first batsman to pass 1000 runs for the season. It was a run of form that coincided with a severe downturn in England's fortunes following the resignation of Nasser Hussain, and if his surname was anything to go by, he was just the name to take on South Africa's prolific captain, Graeme Smith.
Sure enough, Ed responded with a half-century in his maiden Test innings but managed just 23 runs in his next four outings and was dropped. In 2004 there were rumours that he had become alienated from the Kent dressing-room, and it was no surprise when he moved to Middlesex at the end of the summer. After two consistent seasons he made the natural progression to leadership as he was named captain for the 2007 season.
A voracious reader and writer, he picked up a double-first in history despite devoting much of his time at Cambridge University to cricket, and opened for England Under-19s in three Tests against New Zealand in 1996. He broke his ankle in 2008, preventing him from captaining Middlesex for most of the season, and subsequently announced his retirement from first-class cricket in the winter.
Andrew Miller November 2008
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