All-rounder Tom Smith endured an injury laden season in 2015 after having back surgery in April, just months after being named Captain of the Club. He has since stepped down as Captain in a bid to regain full fitness ahead of the start of the season.
He enjoyed his best personal season of his career in 2014, particularly with the ball, to gain England Lions recognition and then dominate Lancashire’s end of the seasons awards.
Smith took 54 wickets from 15 County Championship matches with his right-arm fast medium seamers and hit 773 runs as a lower middle order left-handed batsman, earning selection for the Lions’ one-day series against the A sides of New Zealand and Sri Lanka in August.
That meant that his one-day appearances for the Lightning were limited, although he was a regular in their Twenty20 team, admitting that his performances could have been better.
Still, the affable Liverpool-born player was richly rewarded for an excellent campaign, which saw him pass 50 wickets for the first time and hit seven fifties, as he won the Championship Player of the Year and the club’s overall Player of the Year.
Smith started his career in the Northern League with home-town team of Chorley, where he has lived for much of his life.
He was a member of Lancashire’s Academy in 2003/4 and earned a Scholarship deal in 2005, the summer in which he made his first-class debut against Oxford University.
Smith was part of Lancashire’s Championship-winning squad in 2011, another excellent summer for him and one which he capped off by entering the record books thanks to a stunning display in a 40-over win over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
He finished the Championship campaign with 459 runs, including four half centuries, and 25 wickets from 12 matches, while he added 282 40-over runs and seven wickets and 413 Twenty20 runs and six wickets.
Not only this, he took a total of 27 catches across all three formats, including the crucial one to get Hampshire’s Neil McKenzie in the penultimate Championship match at Liverpool to keep Lancashire’s title dream alive.
As glorious as 2011 was, 2012 was massively frustrating for Smith, even though he still demonstrated his talents on a number of occasions. Hamstring and thigh injuries meant he only played six Championship, four 40-over and eight Twenty20 matches, but he still managed to contribute wickets and, in particular, runs.
2013 was also a funny season for Smith, who started it out of the side on selection grounds and then suffered more injury problems.
But once he returned in mid-June, he went on to play seven Championship matches and return some useful contributions, arguably more so with the ball than bat in taking 22 wickets (he also scored two fifties).
Wherever you ask him to bat, whenever you ask him to bowl or wherever you ask him to field, Smith will give it absolutely everything he’s got.
Smith, who will be 29 at the start of the 2015 summer, has twice been selected in England’s Hong Kong Sixes squad, helping them reach the final of the 2011 event, although they failed to match that in 2012.
It is not the only experience Smith has had of some form of England duty, playing for the under 19s and being selected as part of their National Academy intake in the winter of 2006/7, where he spent time working with Moores.
As you may have already gathered, Smith, who broke through with 35 wickets in 2006 and played in Lancashire’s C&G Trophy final aginst Sussex at Lord’s, has not had it all his own way during an eventful career so far.
He struggled for form in 2007, kick-starting his career again with a successful loan spell at Leicestershire midway through the 2008 campaign.
Smith won the club’s one-day Player of the Year award in 2009 and 2010 (he was also awarded his county cap that season), and would have been a strong contender for a place in England’s Performance Programme for their tour of Australia in the 2010/11 winter had he not required a hernia operation.
Graham Hardcastle (c) Lancashire County Cricket Club Ltd