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Cheshire village cricket club recalls 'homesick' Steve Smith

Steve Smith Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Steve Smith continued his imperious form in the Ashes Test match at the Oval on Friday

He is the world's greatest batsman and has tormented England in a topsy-turvy Ashes cricket contest.

But Australian hero Steve Smith, 30, once had a much less glorious summer on English soil.

A Warrington village cricket club has been remembering the time Smith, then aged 17, signed for the side as part of his development, back in 2007.

However, the young star left only days later after getting "upset" when his teammates took him to a local pub.

Players at Grappenhall Cricket Club wanted to welcome their new overseas recruit with a traditional visit to the Mulberry Tree in Stockton Heath, but the evening was apparently less than successful.

Club president Paul Tyerman said Smith, then a promising leg-spin bowler, was left so "under the weather" by the experience, he packed his bags and left the club five days later.

Sadly for Grappenhall, the prodigious talent failed to play a single game.

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Image caption Grappenhall Cricket Club is in the Cheshire county league

Mr Tyerman, 38, said: "He was too young in hindsight, he was just a kid. Unfortunately, it just wasn't to be.

"I guess he hadn't been used to that back home. He ended up feeling a little delicate the next morning.

"The next morning he wouldn't leave his room. After a number of attempts to talk to him by some of our players, he had already decided he was homesick and wanted to return home to Australia.

"It's a shame he didn't give it a fair go, let alone train or play for us."

The club have never since brought in an overseas player as young as 17.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Smith broke down in 2018 when admitting to his part in a ball-tampering scandal

Speaking to the Warrington Guardian, Mr Tyreman said: "I don't think anyone could have predicted him going on to become Australia captain and arguably the best batsman in the world."

Smith - a dual passport holder thanks to his London-born mother Gillian - is currently top-ranked Test cricket batsman in the world and has been instrumental in Australia's successful bid to retain the Ashes in England.

His imperious form has seen the 30-year-old become the leading run-scorer of the series, despite missing the third Test with a concussion injury.

As he has frequently been reminded by England fans during the series, his career has not been without controversy. In 2018, Smith was banned from all international and domestic cricket for 12 months for his role in a ball-tampering scandal.

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