Essex benefiting from 'true Greg Smith'

Greg Smith

Essex head coach Paul Grayson has praised all-rounder Greg Smith's return to form with the bat following his 62 in

Opening the batting, the 30-year-old hit the first FLt20 half-century of his two-year Essex career, which has been hampered by fitness concerns.

"He's got his head down, practised hard over the winter and thankfully he's fit now," Grayson told BBC Essex.

"Hopefully we can see the true Greg Smith because he's a good player."

Smith has predominantly batted further down the order, averaging 20.28 in T20s last season alongside figures of 31.80 and 15 in English first-class and 40-over cricket respectively.

And Monday's 62 from 42 balls, which helped guide Essex to an eight-wicket victory, came after two ducks in his last three outings.

"I'm really pleased with Greg. He's had a few problems since he joined the club, a lack of form here and there and some injuries," said Grayson.

"Now we've got him fully fit and I thought his knock was outstanding."

The win over Surrey, which came a day after beating Sussex, took the Chelmsford club up to second in the South Group, level on nine points with leaders Hampshire, who have two games in hand.

Surrey remain a point behind with an extra game to play, while Middlesex are also challenging for one of the top two spots to reach the quarter-finals.

"It's a shame we aren't playing again in a couple of nights because we've got a bit of a rhythm going," said Grayson.

"We're just hoping Sussex and Kent can do us a favour somewhere along the line and beat one of the other teams."

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