It should be a rather uncomplicated algorithm in sport: you play well for your team and, as a consequence, you ought to be rewarded with an international call-up.
While that may not always be the case in football, especially if the recent World Cup debacle is anything to go by, Tom Smith believes that Lancashire has an emerging crop of talent that could furnish the England cricket team for years to come.
Recently, Stephen Parry became the latest Lancastrian to earn England recognition when he starred in the Lions’ team that defeated India ‘A’ in the triangular one-day tournament. It was a just reward for the left-arm spinner who has soared to the summit of the Friends Provident t20 bowling averages in the Northern group section.
“Pazza has done really well,” said Smith. “He’s had a couple of great seasons in one day cricket and he’s proved that with his record.
“He’s taking plenty of wickets and he’s not just getting batsmen caught in the deep, he’s getting them caught behind, bowled and stuff like that.
“He’s taking genuine wickets and has been picked for the Lions which is a great reward for him.”
It is widely acknowledged that the Red Rose has a nucleus of youthful talent, and Smith is convinced that several more of his team-mates are knocking on the door.
“We’ve got some lads in the team who are pushing for that and have their sights set on a call-up: the likes of Horts (Paul Horton), Crofty (Steven Croft), myself – we are all pushing to get picked for the England Lions and have shown that with the performances we have put in this year.
“We are very strong at the moment and have a core group of players who have come up and that are now starting to break through.
“It’s everybody’s aim to play cricket for your country and as long as you are putting in your all for Lancashire and cementing your first team spot, you’ve got a chance.”
Smith is one such player who has impressed the cricketing public this season. By his own admission, he got off to a slow start. But, after getting into his stride, he has impressed with bat and ball in both forms of the game.
He said: “Overall, it has gone pretty well and I’m fairly pleased with my own form. Obviously I got off to a poor start in four-day and one-day cricket, but with the t20 coming along it’s been good to get a few runs and then get a hundred in the Championship.
“As a team, we’ve done really well in all forms, and we are still going strong in the Championship and have had a good t20 campaign.”
Photo: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images
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