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Date: Tuesday 01 May 2012
Leicestershire opener Greg Smith feels he is benefiting from a hard winter’s work after making a good start to the 2012 campaign.
It was never going to be easy to step in for last season’s leading run-scorer Will Jefferson but Smith made a superb 68 in testing conditions at Hampshire last week to go with a gutsy 35 at Derbyshire and a fine 85 against Loughborough MCCU.
Smith is unfazed at moving back up from number three and said a tough learning curve at the Darren Lehmann Academy in Adelaide and working hard with new batting coach Ben Smith has proved very helpful.
He said: “I see myself as a top-order player and whether I open or bat number three doesn’t make a massive difference to me. I have benefited from having a winter at the Darren Lehmann Academy as I put in lots of hard work and learnt a great deal.
“Ben has been brilliant to work with, both technically and tactically. He is a great man to bounce ideas off and has only just finished playing himself, so he knows the grounds, the bowling attacks and conditions very well.
“Ben has helped everybody a lot. He’s a top man and him being here can only help all of the young lads get better and better.
“I’m just pleased to be getting into the season and as an opener, it’s my job to try to take the sting out of the attack. It’s just a shame that I haven’t been able to go on a post a big score after reaching 50 twice. Looking to take a score on is a given.”
Smith has shared two important LV=CC stands with overseas player Ramnaresh Sarwan and is enjoying batting with his new teammate. The opener said that everybody is enjoying the unbeaten start to the 2012 campaign and are sharing in one another’s success.
He said: “I feel we are on the verge of exciting times at the Club. It was important that we started well. Robbie bowled brilliantly against Glamorgan and I felt that we had the better of the game at Derbyshire.
“We played all of the cricket in that one and were beaten by the weather in many respects. We then got put in on a green one at Hampshire and it was very difficult. We had to grind runs out in that one.
“It was great to see Josh Cobb and Ramnaresh Sarwan get hundreds and Wayne White a five-for at Derbyshire. Robbie was brilliant against Glamorgan with two six-fors so we have had match-winning performances in the first three games.”
County’s next test is a tough-looking trip to Yorkshire tomorrow and Smith feels it will be his biggest personal challenge so far. “Yorkshire probably have the best attack in the division in my eyes but you want to play against the best and test yourself so I am ready for the challenge," he said. I’ve never played at Scarborough before but have heard lots of good things so I’m very much looking forward to it.”
Smith is part of a 12-man squad for the trip to Yorkshire, with Claude Henderson added to the XI on duty at the Ageas Bowl last week. Jigar Naik will play for the Second XI in the Championship game against Durham while Will Jefferson, Nathan Buck and Matthew Hoggard are all still injured. Ramnaresh Sarwan will again lead the side.
Squad: Smith, Boyce, du Toit, Sarwan (capt), Kadeer Ali, Cobb, Eckersley (wk), White, Henderson, Joseph, Malik, Wyatt.