Smith: Format favours batsmen

Will Smith    Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
Will Smith Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
England's Mason Crane will make his England Test debut when the fifth Ashes Test begins at Sydney Cricket Ground tonight

Root: Hampshire talent will embrace Ashes debut

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Will Smith believes the new Royal London One-Day Cup rules have given batsmen too much of an advantage.

The Hampshire all-rounder knows his side must beat Worcestershire today (2pm) if they are to stand any chance of progression from their group after three defeats in their first five matches.

The Ageas Bowl outfit have struggled to come to terms with the new format so far, although Smith has been one of the more reliable performers with the bat.

But while the fielding restrictions have given him more opportunity to score runs, it has been detrimental to his bowling.

Smith explained: ‘The way the competition is structured now with two new balls, extra fielding restrictions and the batting powerplay, it does seem to be skewed too much towards the batsmen – and I probably shouldn’t be saying that as a batsman!

‘But as an all-rounder, it’s very hard to bowl spin in those middle overs, knowing you have to have one more man up in the field.

‘I don’t know what they have in mind for the next couple of years – it seems to change all the time.

‘Whatever they put in front of us, we have to excel at.

‘It’s been tricky to switch formats but every county has been in the same situation, so we can’t moan too much.

‘With the way the schedule has worked this year with four-day cricket and t20 mixed in throughout, then a completely different competition in a new format, a lot of teams have struggled to adapt.

‘Playing for 50 overs seems like a very long time when we have been playing 20 overs or 40 overs for the past two or three years.

‘So it’s about getting that balance right and being as expansive as you can be but also knowing that you have 
to keep wickets in hand to bat the full 50 overs.

‘We have struggled but I think there are signs that we are just starting to get it right. I think we are on an upward curve in that respect.’

Meanwhile, Hampshire have added Basil Akram to their ranks in time for the must-win clash – a 21-year-old all-rounder who has been playing for the seconds in recent weeks.