Alan Smith (cricketer) bigraphy, stories - England Test and County cricketer, administrator

Alan Smith (cricketer) : biography

25 October 1936 -

Alan Christopher Smith, known as A. C. Smith (born 25 October 1936, Hall Green, Birmingham, Warwickshire) is an English former Test cricketer, who appeared in six Tests for England. Primarily a wicket-keeper, Smith was also a capable right-handed middle-order batsman and right-arm seam bowler. Very unusually for a regular wicket-keeper, he was sometimes selected by Warwickshire as a frontline bowler.

He was the last amateur to play for England, before the MCC abolished such a status.

Life and career

Educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham and Brasenose College, Oxford, Smith scored his maiden first-class century (106, opening the batting) for Oxford University against the MCC in 1958. He won blues 1957–1960, and captained Oxford University 1959–1960. Against Hampshire in 1959, Smith captained Oxford, kept wicket, and scored centuries in both innings (145 and 124). Against the Free Foresters in 1960, Charles Fry's deputising as wicket-keeper allowed Smith to bowl himself; having never previously taken more than a single first-class wicket in an innings, he claimed figures of 5–32 and 4–45.

With Jim Parks, Jr. incumbent as England's wicket-keeper, Smith's international opportunities were limited to one tour of Australia and New Zealand under the captaincy of Ted Dexter in 1962–63. Smith failed with the bat in his four Tests against Australia; his score of 69 not out from number 10 in the first Test against New Zealand, sharing a vital unbroken 163-run partnership with Colin Cowdrey to set up an innings victory, was his only batting contribution of note.

He succeeded M. J. K. Smith, to whom he was unrelated, as county captain of Warwickshire in 1965, retaining the post until his retirement at the end of the 1974 season. Against Essex in 1965 he achieved the very rare feat of taking a hat-trick as bowler in a first-class match in which he had been selected as a wicket-keeper. As the West Indian wicket-keeper Deryck Murray played for Warwickshire from 1972 onwards, Smith was seldom required to keep, and was hence able to bowl increasingly regularly towards the end of his career; in 1972 he took 5–47 against Glamorgan and 5–19 in a 40-over match against Northants. On one occasion, Smith was a member of a Warwickshire team which boasted three international wicket-keepers, none of whom were keeping wicket: Deryck Murray was injured, Rohan Kanhai had given up keeping, and Smith had been selected for his bowling, leaving occasional wicket-keeper John Jameson behind the stumps.

After retirement he became a leading figure in the game's organisation including spells as Secretary of Warwickshire County Cricket Club (1976–1986), as an England selector and Chief Executive of the Test and County Cricket Board (1986–1996).

Living octopus

Living octopus

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