England prospect Will Smeed has signed a specialist white-ball deal with Somerset, turning his back on first-class cricket at the age of just 21.
Smeed has long been seen as one of the most talented players of his generation and came to prominence when he hit the first ever century in The Hundred earlier this year, blasting 101 not out for Birmingham Phoenix against Southern Brave.
But, while Smeed has now played 55 20-over or 100-ball games, he has managed just one List A appearance and has yet to make his first-class debut.
It now seems likely that could be the case throughout his career as he signed a one-year extension that keeps him at Taunton on a limited-overs contract. While others have agreed similar deals at more advanced stages of their careers, including two of England’s new T20 world champions in the shape of Alex Hales and Adil Rashid, Smeed’s decision stands out given his youth.
“I feel that my game is better suited to white-ball cricket,” he said.
“After a huge amount of thorough and considered discussions, I feel that I need to solely focus my attention on the limited-overs formats in order to become the very best cricketer I can be.”
Seemingly anticipating some of the disquiet that may meet his stance, Smeed added: “I can assure people that this not a decision that I’ve taken lightly, and I’ve spoken to a lot of people about it.
“The easy option would have been to carry on playing red-ball cricket and try to fit everything in and reach a certain level across all formats, but I want to try to be the best that I can be. To achieve this, I feel that I need to focus on excelling in one format.
“I’m certainly not saying that I’ll never play red-ball cricket again. I just feel that this is the right decision for me and Somerset at the current time.”