Linsey Smith is hoping 2021 can be a landmark year in her cricketing career.
Spin bowler Smith has signed on as a Northern Supercharger for this summer’s inaugural Hundred campaign, following on from her confirmation as a full-time professional with the Northern Diamonds.
The left-armer, 25, played nine T20 internationals for England in 2018 and 2019 and was selected in a national training group ahead of last year’s international fixtures against the West Indies in Derby.
Keen to force her way back into a team which boasts enviable spin strength in the form of Sophie Ecclestone, Sarah Glenn and Mady Villiers, Smith is confident the forthcoming domestic campaign can help put her name up in lights again.
“When I look back at what I’ve done so far in my career, I think I could have potentially done a bit more,” she admitted.
“I’m still very keen to get back into that England team, and I know what I’m capable of. So if I keep working hard and do my best, hopefully the rewards will come.
“It is going to a big summer for me with the Hundred and the Diamonds stuff. But the main thing for me is to just enjoy my cricket in every team that I play in.”
Come September, Smith, born in Middlesex, will have played for the Northern Superchargers, the Yorkshire Diamonds in the now defunct Kia Super League and the Northern Diamonds in last summer’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.
“I’m getting there, aren’t I!” she laughed when asked whether she felt like an adopted Yorkshire girl.
“I’m absolutely loving it up here. I haven’t moved up yet (currently based in Loughborough) because Covid has made that kind of thing difficult. But I’m in training with the Diamonds three times a week, and it’s been brilliant.”
It is clear that Smith is relishing the prospect of playing in the Hundred and helping to build an exciting competition from scratch.
“I’m delighted to have signed a contract,” she said. “It’s a shame it couldn’t take place last year, so I can’t wait to get going even more so now.
“It’s a brand new format, but it’s really exciting.
“To be alongside the men and be one club in a sense will be fantastic.
“That increased exposure will be brilliant for us and everyone watching, especially little girls who can see what is possible for them to achieve in their future.”
She continued: “When I’ve played internationally, I’ve only played T20 stuff. So that has been more my forte in many ways.
“The Hundred is going to be quick and intense, and you have to be prepared for anything. You could bowl five balls in a row or you could bowl 10! It will be exciting to see how it all goes.”
Smith joins Hollie Armitage, Helen Fenby, Bess Heath, Katie Levick and Lauren Winfield-Hill as Superchargers, with all having played for the Northern Diamonds as they reached last September’s RHF Trophy final at Edgbaston, when they were beaten by Southern Vipers.
And that is why Smith is confident in first-year Hundred success for the Superchargers.
“It showed last summer what we’re capable of, and the core of players in the Hundred should be pretty much the same for us with the addition of some good overseas players,” she said.
“We got to a final with not much time together as a squad, and we can definitely do that again and go one step further.
“The girls will have had a bit more time to get to know each other this winter. So I have no doubts we can do well.”
Smith is well aware of the challenge she faces to get back into the England side given the strength of spin options currently ahead of her at present, chiefly world number one spinner Ecclestone, who is also a left-armer.
But she is refusing to let it faze her and is banking on the help of Superchargers and Diamonds coach Dani Hazell, the former England off-spinner, to help progress her game.
Smith added: “There is significant competition, which is great for English Cricket. But, personally, I don’t focus too much on it.
“I have done that in the past, thought too much about what others are doing instead of myself. That’s the only thing you can control, yourself. The main thing for me is to enjoy my cricket.
“I’ve been working with Dani for a few months now, and I’ve taken so much from her.
“She was one of the main reasons why I opted to move up North, to get some real quality time working with a specialist spin coach. It’s working really well at the minute.”