SOMERSET: Somerset batter Will Smeed has signed a white-ball cricket only extension of one year with his county.
His new deal will see him play only white-ball cricket until at least the end of the 2024 season.
The 21-year-old outlines why he has made this decision.
“I feel that my game is better suited to white-ball cricket. After a huge amount of thorough and considered discussions, I feel that I need to solely focus my attention on the limited-overs formats in order to become the very best cricketer I can be,” said Smeed in a statement by Somerset Cricket on Monday.
“I can assure people that this not a decision that I have taken lightly, and I have spoken to a lot of people about it. I want to be the best player that I can be, and to do that I believe that this needs to be my focus,” he said.
“I know how much our Members love red-ball cricket, but unfortunately I have not been performing how I would like to in the longer form of the game. The easy option would have been to carry on playing red-ball cricket and try to fit everything in and reach a certain level across all formats, but I want to try to be the best that I can be. To achieve this, I feel that I need to focus on excelling in one format.
“I am certainly not saying that I will never play red-ball cricket again. I just feel that this is the right decision for me and Somerset at the current time.”
“I am extremely grateful to Somerset for supporting me in this decision and I always want to come home to Somerset. The coaches and support staff have been amazing. Somerset County Cricket Club is my home. I’ve been here since I was eight years old and I have built up really good relationships here, both on and off the field. I love playing here and I love playing for our Members and supporters. You can see how much it means to them when we win.”
“The atmosphere of a packed house and a vociferous crowd is what excites and inspires me. Those are the elements that bring out my best performances. I’m excited by this challenge and I believe that focusing on my white-ball cricket will take my game to the next level,” he added.
Somerset Director of Cricket, Andy Hurry said: “Will has thought long and hard about this decision and he feels that this is the best option through which he can achieve his goal of reaching the very top of the game. As a Club we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that our players fulfil their aspirations, and we therefore support Will in this decision.”
“White-ball only contracts are not new in the game and are not new at Somerset. The game is developing all the time and I sense that we will see more contracts of this type emerging across the world.
“Will is an exceptional talent and has the potential to have an incredibly successful career. At this stage he is not drawing a permanent line under his red-ball future, and this is currently the best way forward for both Will and the Club,” he said.
“He has all the attributes to become a very successful white-ball player and I am sure that our Members and supporters will enjoy seeing him continue to improve. He has a very important role to play in limited overs cricket for Somerset for many years to come.”
Will, who signed his first professional contract ahead of the 2021 season, made his debut for the Somerset Under 10s in 2010 as an eight-year-old and worked his way through the Somerset Age Group sides before joining the Somerset Academy in 2016.
He made his Second XI debut for Somerset against Middlesex at Taunton Vale at the age of just 15 in 2017. The following year he scored his maiden Second XI hundred in the game against Sussex when he posted 116, going on to make his England U19 T20 and ODI debuts in 2019.
A graduate of Kings College, Taunton, where he was also awarded the Provost’s Prize for academia, Will started his Club cricket at Glastonbury CC before joining Bridgwater CC in 2018.
Will made his Somerset First XI debut in the T20 Blast against Worcestershire at Taunton in 2020 and has since established himself as a key member of the Club’s T20 side.
He has amassed 886 runs in his 35 T20 matches for the County with a best of 98 at an impressive strike rate of 141. In 2022 he became the first batter to score 100 in The Hundred.