In early 2019, Somerset filmed short video clips of academy players for their YouTube channel to introduce them to the club’s supporters.
It may be a hard answer to fathom – and one that shouldn’t be taken too seriously – but Smid is part of a generation that grew up with the tournament. From 2010–14, the IPL was the only top-level cricket available on free-to-air TV in the UK, regularly drawing half a million viewers every afternoon on ITV4 despite the disdain it was viewed by English organizers. was .
This could prove to be the highlight of his Red Ball career. Samid insists he has not retired from multi-day cricket but, barring some creative choices for England’s Test team, it is hard to see a way back for him. England performance director Mo Bobbitt saw his decision coming. Talking about an episode of Unofficial companion The podcast, which was recorded last month, suggested that Smead “could have a purely whiteball career”.
And why shouldn’t it? An assumption has been made in English cricket that Tests must always come first, but for those of us who have grown up in the 21st century, the game is not set up that way. The genie has been out of the bottle since Samid was a toddler.
In practice, Smead’s decision may not change much: he has never played a first-class game and the depth of talent cultivated in Somerset’s academy means he finds himself well below the pecking order in a Championship team. gets His short-form dominance and long-form struggles have created the perfect storm for a unique decision.
If Samid gets a sweater in next month’s IPL auction – and his deal with MI Emirates in the ILT20 suggests he might – he could miss the first two months of the season. would go If he doesn’t, he will have two months between the end of the PSL and the start of the Blast, rather than playing cricket for another team in an “empty field with the sound of the wind”. play .
While money is clearly not his main motivation – he has already made a lot of money from cricket while most of his friends are accumulating debt from their student loans – his move also makes financial sense. When English players without national contracts stop playing in the IPL, they are obliged to return a certain portion of their salary to their counties. As a white-ball specialist, Smeed won’t have that problem when he’s signed in 2023.
England’s Test team under Brendon McCullum may have covered it up, but formats of the game are changing fast. The ODI series begins in Australia this week while the Test squad is training in Abu Dhabi. In February, the whiteball team will play warm-up games in Bangladesh before the second Test in New Zealand. Smead put it simply: “I’d rather be a master of a trade than a jack of all trades.”
In time, Samid will become a superstar: his fearless hitting and raw power have already drawn him to franchises around the world, and his decision this week marks him as an outlier. . But he is also part of a tranche of young players who have grown up with T20: don’t be surprised if and when others follow his lead.