Robin Smith (cricketer)

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Robin Smith
Personal information
Full nameRobin Arnold Smith
Born (1963-09-13) 13 September 1963 (age 56)
Durban, Natal Province, South Africa
Height5 ft 11.75 in (1.82 m)
Bowling Leg break
Relations Chris Smith (brother)
International information
National side
Test debut(cap  530)21 July 1988 v  West Indies
Last Test2 January 1996 v  South Africa
ODI debut(cap  101)4 September 1988 v  Sri Lanka
Last ODI9 May 1996 v  Sri Lanka
Domestic team information
1980/81–1984/85 Natal
1982–2003 Hampshire
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI FC LA
Runs scored4,2362,41926,15514,927
Batting average 43.6739.0141.5141.12
Top score175167* 209* 167*
Balls bowled241,09927
Wickets 0143
Bowling average 70.925.33
5 wickets in innings 00
10 wickets in match00
Best bowling2/112/13
Catches/stumpings 39/–26/–233/–159/–
Source: Cricinfo, 5 October 2009

Robin Arnold Smith (born 13 September 1963) [1] is an English former cricketer.


Smith was nicknamed Judge or Judgie for his resemblance to a judge when he grew his hair long. [2] Like his older brother Chris, he was unable to play for the country of his birth because of the exclusion of the apartheid regime from international cricket, but because he had British parents he qualified to play for England. [1]

He played for England in eleven home test series and on six overseas tours from 1988 to 1996. Smith was best known for his abilities against fast bowling, with what was regarded as a trademark square-cut that was hit ferociously. [1] He trained to be a psychologist.

County career

In county cricket, Smith played for Hampshire, captaining them from 1998 to 2002, before retiring from first-class cricket in 2003.

Until Kevin Pietersen (another English cricketer born in South Africa) was signed by Hampshire from Nottinghamshire in 2005, Smith was Hampshire's most successful England batsman since C. B. Fry.

International career

Early days

Smith was born in Durban, South Africa completing his High School education at Northwood School. The School honoured his career achievements by naming the 1st team cricket oval after him. [3] In his first Test at Headingley in 1988, he shared a century partnership with fellow South African-born batsman Allan Lamb. This was one of very few century partnerships for England during the series against the firepower of the West Indies fast bowlers. The following summer, 1989, Smith was the only successful England batsman in the Ashes series making two centuries. In his second hundred at Trent Bridge, he arrived with England already three wickets down chasing 600, and played some powerful shots – particularly off Mervyn Hughes whose bowling figures were, at one point 4–0–38–0.


His highest test score, 175 against the West Indies in Antigua, was made as England replied to Brian Lara's record-breaking innings of 375. Despite his domination of fast, aggressive bowling, Smith suffered from a well-publicised vulnerability to slower bowlers – particularly the leg-spin of Shane Warne.

Smith was one of England's most courageous players. He was targeted by the West Indies at Antigua in 1989–90 with fast short pitched bowling giving him no room for his favourite shots. During that innings, he was hit on the finger (subsequently diagnosed as broken) and hit flush on the jaw by a bouncer from Courtney Walsh – but neither blow forced him to retire hurt.

He scored 167 not out for England against Australia in the 1993 Texaco Trophy at Edgbaston, when Australia won by six wickets. This was the highest score made by an England batsman in an ODI (until Alex Hales scored 171 against Pakistan in 2016), and was the highest score made by any batsman who finished on the losing side in such a game (until Charles Coventry scored 194 against Bangladesh in a losing cause).

Later career

Despite this, when Smith was dropped from the England team it was popularly perceived as premature, particularly given his Test batting average of over 43. Backing this up is the ICC's historical rankings of Test batsmen, which placed Smith as the 77th greatest batsman in history, and 17th greatest Englishman (ahead of others such as Geoff Boycott, Alec Stewart and Mike Atherton). [4]

In 1994, before Smith scored 175 in the fifth and final Test against the West Indies, he was accused by the then England coach Keith Fletcher of 'having too many fingers in too many pies.' [5] [6]


After retiring from county cricket at the end of the 2003 season, Smith relocated to Australia to help run helmet manufacturer Masuri. After suffering from mental health problems and anxiety, he currently works for his brother's clothing company and runs his own cricket coaching academy. Smith is also studying for a degree in psychological science at Swinburne University, Melbourne. [7] [8]

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  1. 1 2 3 Bateman, Colin (1993). If The Cap Fits. Tony Williams Publications. pp.  152–153. ISBN   1-869833-21-X.
  2. Smith finds right time Archived 6 March 2004 at the Wayback Machine , BBC Sport, Retrieved 3 May 2009
  3. "Life at Northwood School - Facilities, Academics, Sports & Culture: Sports fields". Northwood School . Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  4. "LG ICC Best-Ever Test Batting Records" . Retrieved 20 December 2006.
  5. or empty |title= (help)[ dead link ]
  6. "5th Test West Indies v England at St John's, Apr 16–21, 1994 Scorecard". ESPN Cricinfo . Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  7. "The class of 92: What happened to England's last great ODI side?". The Telegraph. 31 August 2016.
  8. "Robin Smith: Former Hampshire and England batsman on mental health issues". BBC Sport . 26 July 2018.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
John Stephenson
Hampshire cricket captains
Succeeded by
John Crawley