Andrew Michael Smith
October 01, 1967, Dewsbury, Yorkshire
Right hand bat
Left arm fast medium
A left-arm bowler, Mike Smith was arguably the foremost exponent of swing bowling in county cricket in the 1990s. Yorkshire-born, but unwanted by his home county, Smith made his Gloucestershire debut in 1991, having previously represented the Combined Universities. Of slight physique, possessing neither great pace, nor the height at 5' 9" to create awkward lift, he relied heavily on movement in the air to trouble batsmen.
He was selected for the England A tour of Pakistan (1995-96), but a rib injury forced him home after he'd bowled just 22 overs. The following summer he took 60 more wickets. He made his Test debut against Australia in 1997 - in his third over on an unhelpful Headingley pitch he found the edge of Matthew Elliott's bat, but Graham Thorpe at first slip put down the relatively simple chance. Elliott, 29 at the time, went on to score 199 as Australia won by an innings to take a series lead, and Smith was unable to take a wicket in 23 overs. His case wasn't helped as he batted with timidity against an irrepressible Gillespie. He later confessed that it was the only occasion all summer that he had been unable to swing the ball. His chance had gone.
A key member of the triumphant Gloucestershire one-day side, Smith remained a
consistent performer at county level until injury began to take its toll. Rarely loose, he always probed even the best batsmen on good pitches at a pace described by Wisden as "skiddy". He retired at the end of 2004.
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