Gregory James Smith was born in Pretoria, South Africa on 30 October 1971. A left-arm seam bowler who batted right-handed, Smith was signed by Nottinghamshire in 2001 on the recommendation of Clive Rice. He spent six years at Trent Bridge and was a key part of the bowling line-up that helped win the County Championship title in 2005.
Smith was educated at Pretoria High School and appeared for Northern Transvaal Schools in 1989/90. He made his First-Class debut for Northern Transvaal B in Johannesburg in 1993/94, graduated to the Northerns senior side in the same season and in 1996 toured England with South Africa A.
Smith has dual nationality through his English father and so played for Nottinghamshire as a non-overseas player. He made his First-Class debut for Notts against Durham at Trent Bridge in April 2001, alongside another South African born player making his first appearance, Kevin Pietersen. He was an immediate success in his first season in English cricket. He took 50 First-Class wickets in 15 starts, finished top of the County’s bowling averages and was awarded his County Cap.
He had productive returns in the four years that followed and in the County Championship winning-season of 2005 claimed 46 victims in his 14 starts, forming a formidable pace attack with Ryan Sidebottom, Mark Ealham and AJ Harris.
Smith was also a regular in List-A cricket, playing a total of 85 matches and claiming 116 wickets. His best return of 5-39 came in 2002 in an early season Benson & Hedges Cup tie with Yorkshire at Trent Bridge. He had few opportunities to play in T20 cricket but did play in Notts’ first home match in the new Twenty20 Cup competition in June 2003. In all, he played in nine T20 matches and took five wickets.
The 2006 season was Smith’s last in English cricket. He was hampered by injury, played in just six First-Class matches and was released at the end of the season. He finished his Notts First-Class career with 251 wickets in 77 matches and on 11 occasions he took five wickets in an innings. Never renowned for his batting, he contributed 969 runs, with a top score of 44 not out against Sussex in 2001. His best bowling figures came against Essex at Trent Bridge in May 2002 when he claimed 11 wickets in the match with 8-53 in the second innings to help Notts to a seven-wicket win.
Greg Smith will be remembered at Trent Bridge as an accurate seam bowler who contributed significantly in his six seasons and in 2005 helped bring the Championship pennant to Trent Bridge.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 561