Born On This Day: 15th October

A new series from Hampshire Cricket historian Dave Allen marks the birthdays of notable and fondly remembered Hampshire cricketers, next up is Chris Smith

Chris Smith was born in Durban, South Africa in 1958, played for his native Natal from 1979-1983 and at the age of 20 played in one first-class match for Glamorgan.

In the following season he joined Hampshire, as an overseas player, replacing Gordon Greenidge who was on tour, and Chris scored over 1,000 runs at 31.75, with three centuries.

He stayed, qualifying by residence, and playing whenever Greenidge or Marshall was not available, until 1983 when he played a full season, scored 1,923 runs at 53.41 and won a place in the England side.

For his performances that season, he was nominated as one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year. He was never an established Test batsman but in eight matches for England he scored 392 runs at 30.15, with a best of 91 in New Zealand.

In county cricket, he was one of the most consistent players, passing 1,000 runs in every full season from 1983-1991, while his 41 centuries for the county have only been exceeded by four men. In total, he scored 15,287 first-class runs for Hampshire at 46.63, with a best of 217 v Warwickshire at Birmingham in 1987, when he shared with Paul Terry, Hampshire’s record opening first wicket partnership of 347.

He added 6,301 limited-overs runs at 42.57 with 11 centuries, and was an occasional off-break bowler, who took 44 first-class wickets including 5-69 v Sussex in 1988 at Southampton.

He played in the 1986 Sunday League Champions side, and the team that won the B&H Cup at Lord’s in 1988, but having played in the winning Nat West semi-final at Birmingham in 1991 he left in August to take up an administrative post with the Western Australia Cricket Association. He settled in Australia, becoming a successful businessman.


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Born On This Day: 30th October

A new series from Hampshire Cricket historian Dave Allen marks the birthdays of notable and fondly remembered Hampshire cricketers