Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

So, What's the Verdict on National Selector Smith's First Season in Charge?

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

So, What's the Verdict on National Selector Smith's First Season in Charge?

Article excerpt

Will Macpherson ED SMITH will name his squad to tour Sri Lanka late next week, but he has completed his first summer as England's national selector. He has changed the role dramatically, making it far more front-facing and thought-through, and he has always been keen to articulate why he and his panel have made their decisions, which Trevor Bayliss -- who used to have to explain it all -- likes a lot. Here, we assess Smith's hits and misses...

THE BUTTLER DID IT JOS BUTTLER is a success Smith likes to own. It seems even more ridiculous now than it did at the turn of the year that England have not been prepared to indulge Buttler's lavish talents in Test cricket. Was man of the series against Pakistan and England's best batsman against India, despite a slow start that saw some again call his place into question. The No7 role, with or without the gloves, suits him well, and he is the perfect vicecaptain for Joe Root. Averages 46 for the summer and has zipped along at a strike-rate of 66.

LEFTIE SAM SO USEFUL SAM CURRAN has been a terrific addition and should become this country's first left-arm seamer to 100 Test wickets. In the winter, England's lack of variety in their attack was badly exposed and, while they are still searching for the pace that could bring victory in Australia, Curran's left-arm angle is very helpful. Probably not among England's best four seamers, but definitely helps balance the best attack. His anarchic batting down the order has been even better.

TOP SPIN has seen a tricky situation navigated astutely by Smith. Jack Leach would likely have played all summer had he not been injured against Pakistan, then short of cricket before the India series. With Moeen Ali at the IPL and not having played red-ball cricket since his dropping, Dom Bess was the next best thing to face Pakistan. By the time the India series came round, he had played little cricket too and Adil Rashid was in white-ball form. …

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