Lancashire allrounder Tom Smith has revealed the unlikely secret weapon in his stunning early-season form – a pink wristband.
The 28-year-old’s stand-out performances for the Red Rose county have led to growing calls for him to be selected for England in the Twenty20 and one-day formats of the game.
And former Parklands High School and Runshaw College student Smith has revealed his excellent form has coincided with a new close-season fitness programme involving yoga – and his decision to take to the field his season in a pink wristband in recognition of his role as a patron of charitable trust Twincess, which aims to change perceptions of Down’s syndrome.
The campaign was set up by Smith’s former Chorley Cricket Club team-mate Matt Parry after his twin daughters – Abigail and Isobel Parry – were born with the condition in June 2011.
Explaining how he got involved in the Twincess campaign, Smith said: “Matt Parry was a former team-mate of mine at Chorley and when I found out his twins had Down’s syndrome, he asked if I would become a patron of Twincess.
“I was delighted to accept. Twincess is all about changing people’s perceptions of Down’s syndrome and it’s going from strength to strength.”
And Smith also found himself an internet sensation over the weekend after footage of his stunning dismissal for 55 off just 28 balls against Yorkshire went viral all over the world.
Running backwards towards the boundary, Adam Lyth palmed the ball back to Aaron Finch, and the Australian was on hand to catch it in front of 18,000 fans.
He said: “As soon as I hit it I knew I hadn’t got it as well as I could have done but the ball kept on going so I thought I had a chance.
“My gut instinct was ‘it’s out’. It’s probably the best catch I’ve been out to.
“At the end of the day, we’re in the entertainment industry and it was a great catch.”
The all-rounder has twice been selected in England’s Hong Kong Sixes squad and played for the Under-19s.
He said he was flattered by calls for him to be called up for England in the shorter formats of the game, but he wasn’t getting distracted by the talk.
“I’ve not managed to play a full season for Lancashire for two or years because of injury so staying on the park and doing well for Lancashire is my priority,” he said.
“People talking about me for England is flattering but Lancashire is my main focus.”
Matt Parry said he was humbled by the support of Smith and his Lancashire CCC colleagues to Twincess.
“I’m speechless by Tom’s support to Twincess,” said Parry. “He’s a great cricketer but he’s a great man and a great role model too.
“Steve Croft has also been brilliant and wearing the pink Twincess wristband is one small way of changing people’s perceptions of Down’s syndrome.”