Greg Smith leaves Leicestershire as Grace Road exodus continues

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Nottinghamshire announced the signing of Greg Smith last week as the batsman became the latest player to escape the sinking ship that has been Leicestershire over the past two years.

The 25-year-old joins Josh Cobb, Nathan Buck and Shiv Thakor as the fourth player to leave the club following a final day 408-run loss to Derbyshire – a result that condemned the county to a second consecutive County Championship campaign without a win.

The exits of those players begs the question: is it necessary for ambitious cricketers to move away from the county that cultivated internationals like James Taylor, Stuart Broad and Harry Gurney, in order to further their careers?

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Regular runs

Smith’s move to Nottinghamshire follows on from a successful season with the bat, despite his side’s inability to win a four-day game. The right-hander was a consistent scorer, contributing 1,448 runs in all competitions.

The former England under-19 international was born in Leicester and has been with the club since he was a 15-year-old.

But – with the club in a poor state of affairs – Smith has now decided to sever a 10-year stay with the Foxes.

He is quoted by the BBC as saying: "Leicestershire have been great to me and I will always be grateful to the fans, the players and the coaches for the start they have given me in the game.

"However, it feels like the right time to start a fresh chapter in my career and I'm very
excited to be moving to Trent Bridge."

International aspirations

His departure echoes Shiv Thakor’s move to Derbyshire at the beginning of September. The all-rounder referenced the prospect of playing for England as the reason behind his move to the fellow Division Two side.

In the past, Broad, Taylor and Gurney have all outgrown Leicestershire and moved up to the top tier of English domestic cricket with Nottinghamshire – a change of environment that has laid the path for them to play for their country.

The loss of these key players will now make it even more difficult for the midlands county to finally put an end to their 32-match winless streak.

Where next?

It is not just on the field where the club have lost staff during the close-season. Chief executive Mike Siddall left last month, which has only made the job of rebuilding a squad
even more difficult.

Aside from keeping hold of their best players, Leicestershire need to look closely at their
bowling attack, which failed to take 20 wickets in any of their 16 County Championship
fixtures in 2014.

This winter is going to be a very busy one at Grace Road as the Division Two side look to form a team that is capable of once again pushing for promotion.

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