Michael John Knight Smith
June 30, 1933, Westcotes, Leicester
Right hand Bat
Top order Batter
Stamford School; Oxford University
Warwickshire team-mates of Mike Smith, who was universally known as "MJK", rated him the best county batsman, and the most straightforward and unselfish captain, of his time. His leadership qualities, which included fielding at forward short leg before helmets and shin-guards were in vogue, were possibly the biggest factor in his captaining England in half his 50 Tests, including successive tours of India, South Africa and Australia. Surprisingly, he was uninspired as manager in two tours in the 1990s. His great strength as a batsman was his pragmatism. He observed that that all bowlers except offspinners had most of their fielders on the off side, so considered it only sensible to aim to score most of his runs to leg, which he dubbed "The man's side". He was a quick judge of line and length (despite, or perhaps because of, wearing glasses), a six-footer of wiry strength, and the possessor of a strong right hand. He was able to fetch to midwicket balls that pitched a foot or more clear of the off stump, a gift that, allied to the sweep and pull, made him harder than most to bowl to. If the method wasn't all that easy on the eye, it was mighty effective in the county game: six times running (1957-62) he made 2000 runs in a season, most of them at a cracking pace. His son, Neil (NMK), played a handful of one-dayers for England and also captained Warwickshire.
Batting & Fielding
Umpire & Referee