Ed Smith (Middlesex)
Ed Smith has had only brief experience leading in county cricket before; in 2004, he filled in while Kent skipper David Fulton was injured. But his relationship with Andrew Symonds was so fractious that the Australian refused to take orders from Smith. It was little surprise when Smith left for Middlesex at the end of the season.
Since joining, Smith’s form has been steady, though he has not been helped by being used both in the middle order and as an opener. But his weight of runs has been nowhere near that of 2003, when he was the first batsman to score 1000 runs and earned his only three England caps.
At 29, Smith, the owner of a punchy and attractive off-drive, knows time is running out on an international recall. But he claims he has more pressing concerns: leading a hugely talented Middlesex side, which he has just been opened captain of, back to the First Division.
Smith will be certainly taken out of his bubble, which may move his game onto the next level. He must use his analytical mind to achieve similar results to another intellectual – Mike Brearley, who lead Middlesex with great success for 11 seasons. He says he shall be an attacking captain who, similar to Michael Vaughan, encourages players to express themselves. If all goes well then – who knows? – Smith may even be considered a potential national skipper when Vaughan retires.
See Tim de Lisle's piece: From reading to leading
This is particularly interesting:
My hunch is that Smith will resurface, as Nasser Hussain did, twice, after three-year spells in the cold. Part of England's undoing in Australia was that they banked on youth in the absence of Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick; they could do with a Mike Hussey or two. And captaincy, which can take a man out of himself and also give him more prominence, could be the catalyst.