Championship challenge for in-form Smith
Championship challenge for in-form Smith

Opening batsman Tom Smith is confident that he can transfer his good form with the bat from white ball to red ball when Lancashire return to County Championship action against Somerset tomorrow.

The 23 year-old left-hander has been given the chance to face the new ball, and has done well in the 50-over Friends Provident Trophy and the Twenty20 Cup. But he has, so far, struggled to adapt to opening up in County Championship cricket, having recorded just 56 runs from six innings.

He will, however, get the opportunity to rectify that anomaly in the stat's when Somerset visit Old Trafford, heralding the return of four-day cricket after a month's absence.

"My aim at Lancashire has always been to bat up the order from where I was in the last couple of seasons," said Smith, who opened the batting in club cricket for Chorley as a teenager making his way in the game.

"I have always had that quiet little goal inside to try and get up the order. It just so happens that I have been shoved straight to the top. To go from nine to one is a pretty big leap

"It's nice to know that I have had the experience of doing it before, and it's also nice to know that a lot of teams think 'right, we are just going to knock him over easily because he can't bat'. I use that as a bit of inspiration because I know that I can bat."

Smith is pretty composed despite his lack of runs in four-day cricket: "I have got a couple of good balls, played a couple of bad shots, before you know it you have no runs," he continued.

"I am quite confident in my ability, where I am at with my cricket. I know the runs will come, so I have to keep working hard."

Captain Glen Chapple said: "Tom's been excellent. I am sure that his confidence is growing all the time. We were happy at the start with him. It's not all about totals. That makes the news and builds player's confidence. But we saw some good stuff from him when he was making 20s and 30s. Now he is getting the big scores on the board."

Chapple, meanwhile, has warned of rising expectations around the club after the start to the season has yielded 15 wins out of 18 matches in the three competitions played.

Lancashire sit second in the Championship, are already assured of a Friends Provident Trophy semi-final spot, and have virtually secured their place in the Twenty20 Cup quarter-final.

"It's still early days. We are all delighted with how we are going, we couldn't have wished for a better start, but have won nothing yet" said Chapple. "We have had times over the past few years when we have played well.

"When you talk about the squad we started with, what people thought we had, we have probably outperformed what people expected of us. From within the dressing room, that is not the case, we want to play as well as we can. We are going to continue with the same mentality. Enjoy each other's company, do the right things, and give it 100 percent.

"The three games we have played already (in the Championship), we have been very happy with our form. We have got three games in a period of about 15 days, and they will be big for us."
Graham Hardcastle
Photo: Simon Pendrigh
(C) Lancashire CCC Ltd

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