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Thread: Test Cricket's 25 Greatest Smiths

  1. #16
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    12 - Dawyne Smith (West Indies, 2004-06)



    Tall, aggressive, and powerful, Dwayne Smith shares his name with, among others, the wide receiver for the Wisconsin Badgers, and the winner of the 2002 World Championship of Public Speaking. But when, in December 2003, he was called up to join the West Indian Test squad in South Africa, he was arguably as well known in cricket circles as either of them. All that changed, however, on the final day of the third Test at Newlands, where he brought the calypso back to Caribbean cricket with a wonderful debut century. Smith had been given a surprise opportunity - ahead of his Grenadian namesake Devon - when Marlon Samuels flew home with a knee injury. It was rumoured that Viv Richards had recognised something of himself in the stance of the young Barbadian and, sure enough, he needed just 93 balls to justify his selection, bringing up his hundred with a crashing cover-drive. It was only the second century of Smith's first-class career, but it was enough to stem West Indies' run of seven consecutive defeats in South Africa. His batting reflects both his temperament and his youth, as he is still inclined to lose his wicket under the influence of careless strokeplay, and he made starts, but no more, in the next few Tests. His flamboyant hitting is matched by his athletic fielding, while his useful medium-pacers have already tasted some success at domestic level for Barbados. Despite the fact that he eked out runs at a paltry 8.15 in 17 games in the 2006-07 season, he was picked for the World Cup squad and put in a number of good performances with his typically savage hitting. An impressive tour of England in 2007 earned him selection into West Indies' final 15-man squad for September's Twenty20 World Championship and he continued his connection with the shortest format by signing with Mumbai in the Indian Premier League in 2008.

    Andrew Miller May 2008

    Dwayne Smith | Cricket Players and Officials | ESPN Cricinfo
    Indians can't bowl - Where has the rumour come from as I myself and many indian friends arwe competent fast bowlers ?

    With the English bid I said: Let us be brief. If you give back the Falkland Islands, which belong to us, you will get my vote. They then became sad and left

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    11 - Devon Smith (West Indies, 2003-2011)





    A belligerent left-handed opening batsman from Grenada, Devon Smith was drafted into the West Indies squad ahead of the Test series against India in March 2002, after making 750 runs for Windward Islands in the Busta Cup, though he made his debut 13 months later against a far tougher opponent. In his first Test, against Australia, Smith scored a blazing 62 in a losing cause, but failed to score in the next Test. A good eye compensates for his lack of footwork and throughout the series he showed promise, but it wasn't enough, and he was dropped to smooth off the rough edges. In 2004, he was selected to open against England, and he immediately pulled his team out of a hole with a stroke-filled century. But just as he began to settle into a groove, a freak net injury left him with a fractured thumb, and he missed the next two Tests. He was axed after another failure in the Test series against Australia in 2005-06 and spent two years in the wilderness. He returned to play in the one-dayers against India in 2006-07 and was picked for the World Cup squad where his form was solid rather than spectacular. He failed to move out of first gear against England in 2007, and he followed with a horror tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa that was only saved by his ODI career-best 91 in Johannesburg.

    He was dropped again in 2009, but came back to prominence during the 2011 World Cup during which he opened in the absence of an injured Adrian Barath. Smith scored his maiden one-day hundred in West Indies' group match against Ireland and got two more half-centuries in the tournament.

    Will Luke and Cricinfo staff May 2011

    Devon Smith | Cricket Players and Officials | ESPN Cricinfo

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    10 - Brun Smith (New Zealand, 1947-52)


    The New Zealand Test team, Christchurch, March 1947. Brun Smith is farthest right in the front row.



    Wisden obituary
    Brun Smith, otherwise known as Runty, was a small, aggressive batsman who was a crowd favourite in Christchurch and played four Tests for New Zealand, two of them on the England tour of 1949. He made a vital 96, full of wristy square cuts, in just two hours at Headingley, and an unbeaten 54 in the second innings. During his 96 he is supposed to have warned the slips: I'll hole out to one of you jokers before long. He often did, but not that time. After scoring 23 at Lord's, he lost his place to John Reid. Smith had reached his peak the previous season at home when his three Plunket Shield matches for Canterbury included 153 in 163 minutes against Otago and 146, only slightly slower, in Auckland. He was principal of various primary schools in Christchurch. His father Frank and son Geoff also played for Canterbury, making them the province's only three-generation family. Dick Brittenden wrote of him: He was often lucky, if the failure of a startled slips fieldsman to catch a crimson blur soaring overhead can be regarded as luck for the batsman ... Brilliance in stroke production, eagerness to get on with the game, beautiful fielding and a cheerful and engaging personality made Smith one of the most popular players of his day. He would have been remarkable in any generation.

    Wisden Cricketers' Almanack

    Brun Smith | Cricket Players and Officials | ESPN Cricinfo

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    9 - Sir Aubrey Smith (England, 1889)





    The chance to read one's own obituary is rare. Neville Cardus, on being told that the Buckinghamshire Examiner had described his death and published a moving tribute, paused before saying: "I have no wish to challenge the authority of the provincial press. They must have some information."

    Sir Aubrey Smith, the greatest actor-cricketer in the game's history, read of his own demise 59 years before the event. In October 1889 the Graff-Reinet Advertiser announced that he had "succumbed to that fell disease, inflammation of the lungs". "Much regret will be felt at his decease," the article continued. "He made many friends by his kindly disposition." When Smith eventually died of pneumonia, in Beverly Hills, California, at the age of 85, he had left a far more imposing legacy. He was, after all, the only captain of England to star in a film with Elizabeth Taylor (Mervyn Le Roy's Little Women).

    The son of a London doctor, Smith's early cricket coaching came at the hands of Julius Caesar, once a star batsman for Surrey and an All England player but by then a dropsical wreck teaching boys at Charterhouse. Smith was nonetheless fortunate to come across him. Public school was an expense that his Micawberesque, spendthrift father could ill afford but Dr Smith, with money borrowed from his brother, was able to educate his son all the way to Cambridge University, where he won his Blue.

    Smith was a fast-medium bowler with a high action and a useful leg-cutter. But the most striking aspect of his bowling was a curious, curved approach to the wicket that earned him the unwieldy nickname `Round The Corner'. "Sometimes he started from a deep mid-off position, at others from behind the umpire," said Wisden and WG Grace remarked: "It is rather startling when he suddenly appears at the bowling crease."

    Smith was also a competent slip fielder and his arms had a telescopic quality when gathering in catches. But, despite an impressive first-class career for Sussex - he took 346 wickets at an average of 22.34 between 1882 and 1896 - an international career never really took off. At least it did not take off on the cricket pitch.

    This is surprising, considering that he captained England on their first tour of South Africa, in 1888-89, and he took 134 wickets at 7.61 each. He played only one Test, at Port Elizabeth (the match was awarded Test status some years later), and was easily the best bowler in the match.

    Leading a team that included five others making their Test debuts, two of whom were also making their first-class debuts, Smith took 5 for 19 in the first innings and 2 for 42 in the second, although he was no doubt aided by the game being played on matting. It was all over by 3.30pm on the second day.

    Smith stayed in South Africa for some time after that tour, going into stockbroking partnership with another member of the team, Monty Bowden, and captaining Transvaal. But in 1896, having returned to London, he made his debut on the West End stage as the arch villain Black Michael in the swashbuckling romance The Prisoner of Zenda.

    Who could have envisioned that 41 years later he would appear in a Hollywood version, opposite Raymond Massey, or would be persuading Ronald Colman and David Niven to turn out for his cricket team during shooting?

    Smith made the transition from stage to film in the 1920s. His diction was heavy and strident and he would have found the concept of method acting laughable. As Harold Wilson was a professional Yorkshireman, so Smith was a professional Englishman.

    He took the Jane Austen approach and stuck rigidly to what he knew, often playing monarchs or crusty martinets. He managed to portray the Duke of Wellington in three unrelated films. But his caricatured screen roles were not too far from the truth. He used to have the Union Jack raised daily at his home near Mulholland Drive and was easily offended by the sexual mores of others.

    In late 1932, as the Bodyline series raged in Australia, Smith founded the Hollywood Cricket Club. He supervised the building of a field and pavilion at Griffith Park, even insisting on the planting of five cartloads of English grass seed. Sadly nothing remains of his handiwork. Los Angeles City Council bulldozed the area and converted it to an equestrian centre for the 1984 Olympics.

    Scorecards for Smith's matches indicate the star quality of the occasions. Nigel Bruce, Basil Rathbone, Laurence Olivier and PG Wodehouse were among those who played for him; Smith could be by turns persuasive and forceful at roping in the local talent. Niven recalled that he was once press-ganged into net practice on an evening that he had resolved to spend "chasing some skirt".

    In 1937, during shooting of The Prisoner of Zenda, a boat carrying Gubby Allen's Ashes tourists docked for a few days and Smith was beside himself with joy, offering cinematic workshops to a bemused audience of Allen, Hedley Verity and CB Fry.

    Another guest in Hollywood was Lancashire's Archie MacLaren who arrived during the filming of The Four Feathers. MacLaren was hard up, as usual, and Smith paid his old crony some pin money as an extra. Many watchings of the film have revealed no sign of MacLaren's patrician features and the Lancashire captain may have been consigned to the cutting- room floor.

    Smith was pompous and not over-endowed with humour but he can still be sent out with a good anecdote. During a game at Griffith Park he missed a sharp slip chance and his English butler was ordered to bring some spectacles, which he duly donned. With the next delivery the bowler produced an out-swinger and found the shoulder of the bat. This time the ball came into the slip cordon in a gentle parabola, offering the kind of catch that, as the old Robertson-Glasgow poem has it, "a child would take at midnight with no moon". Smith fluffed it and, as the ball fell to the turf, he snatched off the lenses. "Damn fool brought my reading glasses."

    Jeremy Malies, The Wisden Cricketer, March 2004

    Sir Aubrey Smith | Cricket Players and Officials | ESPN Cricinfo


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    8 - Jim Smith (England, 1935-37)



    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.

    Wisden Cricketers Almanack

    Jim Smith | Cricket Players and Officials | ESPN Cricinfo

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    7 - Chuck Fleetwood Smith (Australia, 1935-1938)



    Leslie O'Brien Fleetwood-Smith, who died in a Melbourne hospital on March 16, aged 60, played in 10 Test matches for Australia between 1935 and 1938, taking 42 wickets. A left-arm spin bowler who changed his style after breaking his right arm as a schoolboy, he often exploited the googly and the "chinaman" with effect. In all first-class cricket his record was 597 wickets, average 22.00. "Chuck", as he was known, first toured England in 1934 when he obtained 119 wickets - including three in four deliveries against Oxford University - for 18.06 runs apiece, but failed to gain a Test place against such formidable rivals as C.V. Grimmett and W.J. O'Reilly.

    In 1936-37, however, after faring moderately in South Africa the previous year, he helped Australia to carry off the Ashes following the loss of the first two Tests, in which he did not play, to G.O. Allen's England team. Fleetwood-Smith did specially well in the fourth Test at Melbourne, his match analysis being 10 wickets for 239 runs. Again in England in 1938, he took part in four Tests and at Leeds earned match figures of 7 for 107, he and O'Reilly (10 for 122) bearing a major part in the victory which decided the rubber.

    In the final match of the series at The Oval - his last Test appearance - however, he, in company with the other Australian bowlers, came in for a mauling. It was in that game that Leonard Hutton put together his record-breaking 364 and England won by the overwhelming margin of an innings and 579 runs. Fleetwood-Smith's analysis in a total of 903 was one wicket for 298 runs from 87 overs.

    For Victoria, Fleetwood-Smith took 246 wickets for 24.56 runs each in 40 Sheffield Shield fixtures. Twice he enjoyed the distinction of dismissing nine batsmen in an innings - for 36 runs against Tasmania in 1932-33 and for 135 runs against South Australia five seasons later - at Melbourne in each case. He fell on hard times some years ago and was "living rough", but his friends rallied round him and latterly he was his old self again.

    Wisden Cricketers' Almanack

    Chuck Fleetwood-Smith | Cricket Players and Officials | ESPN Cricinfo

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    6 Steven Smith (Australia, 2010 - present)





    Steven Smith started his career as a promising legspinner and talented batsman, but over the last couple of years, the legspin has taken a definite back seat while his batting has blossomed. That was in ample evidence when he played against India in Mohali in 2013. It was his first Test match in more than two years, and he responded superbly to pressure, scoring 92 and handling the spinners competently to confirm his early potential.

    Smith was earmarked as a special talent quite early in his career: by the age of 21 he was in Australia's Test, one-day and Twenty20 teams, picked on promise and quickly showing the composure of a seasoned professional. There were words of caution about his early elevation, but there was no hiding the excitement about a player who gives the ball air, hits it hard, catches it at will and seems unbothered by pressure.

    Smith became an international player in 2009-10 after starring with New South Wales, striking four Sheffield Shield centuries and finishing the season with career-best figures of 7 for 64. After only 13 first-class games he was picked on a Test tour of New Zealand but didn't get to play. He had already been trialled in the T20 and ODI sides, impressing with his attitude, and was used more as a legspinner than a batsman. Figures of 2 for 78 in his first one-dayer against West Indies don't look great, but he convinced Ricky Ponting to keep the field up to build pressure. Not many 20-year-olds - Smith looks even younger - win arguments like that. He was part of the squad in Australia's journey to the World Twenty20 final and his opening Test series, against Pakistan in England, was encouraging. There were three wickets in the two games and a muscular 77 in the second innings at Leeds.

    A promising start to his state career occurred in 2007-08, when he played his first games in the three domestic formats. In the Pura Cup he opened with 33 and began his FR Cup experience without batting, although he posted 35 in his second attempt. The biggest impact came in the Twenty20 tournament, where he finished the qualifying matches as the competition's joint-highest wicket-taker with nine at a remarkable average of 5.33. His 4 for 15 in the dying stages against a Queensland side chasing 122 helped New South Wales to victory and earned him the Man-of-the-Match award.

    However, batting became his stronger suit as the years went along: in the 2012 season, he bowled only 57 overs in ten first-class matches, and seven in 11 List A games. With the bat, though, he averaged almost 42 in first-class games and more than 36 in List A. He was chosen in Australia's squad for the tour to India, and when he got a Test opportunity when four players were suspended, Smith made the most of his opportunity.

    ESPNcricinfo staff

    Steven Smith | Cricket Players and Officials | ESPN Cricinfo

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    5 - Collie Smith (West Indies, 1955-1959)



    O'Neill Gordon Smith, who died in hospital following injuries received in a motor-car accident, took part in 26 Test matches between 1955 and 1959, scoring 1,331 runs, including four centuries. His death came as a heavy blow to the West Indies, for much had been hoped from him against Peter May's MCC team last winter

    Smith's interest in cricket began at the age of seven and, such was his rapid advance, he gained a place in the team at St. Alban's School, Jamaica, when nine and became captain inside three years. Later at Kingston College he progressed still further, but not till 1955 did he first appear for Jamaica. This was against the visiting Australians and he gave full evidence of his quality by playing an innings of 169, he and AP Binns putting on 277 for the sixth wicket. That performance earned him a place in the opening Test match and, by hitting 104 in the second innings, he joined the list of men who obtained a century on Test debut. His success in three other Tests in the series was limited - indeed, he was dismissed for 0 and 0 in the second - but, with characteristic cheerfulness, he did not allow setbacks to deter him and from 1956, when he toured New Zealand, his place in the team was firmly established.

    He learned to curb his natural desire to hit at practically every ball, though he never lost his punishing powers, and in England in 1957 he took 161 in the Edgbaston Test, becoming the only batsman to register a century on first appearance against both Australia and England. In the third meeting with England at Trent Bridge he made his highest Test score, 168, doing much to rescue the West Indies from what had seemed a hopeless position. "Collie" Smith was also a useful off-break bowler, having turned from pace to spin after watching Jim Laker during the MCC tour of 1948. During the summers of 1958 and 1959 he achieved marked all-round success as professional to Burnley in the Lancashire League.

    Wisden Cricketers' Almanack

    Collie Smith | Cricket Players and Officials | ESPN Cricinfo

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    4 - Mike Smith (England, 1958-1972)



    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
    .
    John Thicknesse

    Mike Smith | Cricket Players and Officials | ESPN Cricinfo

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    3 - Ian Smith ( New Zealand, 1980-92)



    A compact and efficient wicketkeeper, and a dogged late-order batsman, Ian Smith succeeded Warren Lees in the New Zealand side in Australia in 1980-81 and aside from a prolonged absence through injury in 1981-82, was a regular for more than a decade thereafter. His finest hour came at Auckland in 1990-91 when, arriving at the crease with New Zealand on 131 for 7 against India, he cracked a remarkable 173 off 136 balls including 24 off one over from Atul Wassan. It was the highest score by a Test No. 9. In 1991-92 he held seven catches in an innings against Sri Lanka, retiring after the World Cup that same season. He moved effortlessly into the commentary box and now travels the world in that capacity.

    Martin Williamson

    Ian Smith | Cricket Players and Officials | ESPN Cricinfo
    Last edited by Spikey; 02-09-2013 at 12:58 AM.

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    2 - Robin Smith (England, 1988-96)



    Fearless yet fragile, much-loved yet mucked about, Smith's England career was a curious catalogue of contradictions. At his best he hammered fast bowling with supersonic cuts and hooks and visibly enjoyed the regular snatches of chin music from the West Indian quicks. At worst those rigid forearms were a handicap against his Achilles heel of slow bowling, and when he thrust forward hopefully even part-time offspinners fancied their chances. Even so, when he was dropped after the 1995-96 series in South Africa, Smith possessed the highest average of any contemporary England player. It did give him more time to concentrate on his various business interests and captaining Hampshire, but the feeling persists that England could have got more out of him.

    Lawrence Booth

    Robin Smith | Cricket Players and Officials | ESPN Cricinfo

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    1 - Graeme Smith





    Meaty, muscular and mighty, that's Graeme Smith, who looms even larger than all that as South Africa's colossus of a captain. His achievements as a batsman are significant, but the most important monument to his career is the fact that under Smith, the confidence of South Africans, both within and outside of the national team and its structures, has been rebuilt.

    Smith's leadership and his batting are all about being direct and upfront. The subtleties of captaincy have grown into his game, but he is still at his most comfortable surging once more unto the breach himself with a cursory backward glance to see if his men are following.

    His batting is similarly forthright: anything bowled near his pads will be sent screaming through midwicket. Anything drivable on the off-side will be driven, brutally, often inelegantly, but always effectively. Square of jaw and shoulder, they don't call him "Biff" for nothing. With Smith, what you see really is what you get.

    Smith can hardly be blamed for doing things his own way. He was, after all, handed the reins at 22 - which made him his country's youngest captain - and tasked with rebuilding South Africans' faith in the integrity of game itself. That precious jewel had been shattered by Hansie Cronje's immoral greed and it was not restored completely under Shaun Pollock's sincere but undemonstrative leadership.

    If Pollock was too maturely minded a captain for South African sensibilities, Smith was spot on: an overgrown schoolyard bully of the nicest possible type who would just as soon take a (verbal) swing at an opponent as buy him a beer. After the game, of course.

    The double centuries Smith scored in his 11th and 12th Tests, and just his third and fourth as captain, in England in 2003 made for an ironclad argument to retain his overtly direct approach to getting the job done. Those were his early days in charge, but arguably his greatest triumph came much later, when he led South Africa to their first Test series victory in Australia, in 2008-09. All that remains now is to get his hands on a chunk of ICC silverware, a prize that has eluded South Africa since 1998.

    Telford Vice

    Graeme Smith | Cricket Players and Officials | ESPN Cricinfo

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    Nah disagree with Ian being in there. World class knob jockey.

    What a great man Robin is though.
    Parmi | #1 draft pick | Jake King is **** | Big Bash League tipping champion of the universe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono View Post
    Kohli. Do something in test cricket for once please.

    Thanks.

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    In my method, consistently and length of a career counts a lot


    Unless you have been knighted

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