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Australia batsman Steve Smith reveals that his time in Kent helped in his development as a player

Steve Smith is currently ranked the world’s No.1 Test batsman and the Australian vice-captain showed his class by scoring 111 before retiring out in the first innings of Ashes tour opener against Kent at Canterbury.

He hit 13 fours and one six in what was his 19th First-Class hundred. And Smith admitted a stint playing for Sevenoaks Vine as an 18-year-old in 2007 helped in his development.

Smith said: “My time with Vine was enjoyable and it helped my game in the long run because the conditions were so different to those I played in back home. I learnt a lot about cricket by playing in England.”

Sevenoaks Vine’s management committee chairman Gavan Burden remembers Smith’s time at the club well.

He said: “Steve was quite a shy 17-year-old who was focused only on playing cricket – he lived and breathed it.

"While he was with us, he averaged 40 in the league and took wickets with his phenomenal leg spin.

"He also let his hair down once – he went really wild and had two pints of lager on his 18th birthday – then it was off to bed early so he was ready for cricket the next day!"

Yet the link with the Sevenoaks club is not the only connection Smith has with the county.

He played one Kent 2nd XI game against Sussex at Canterbury during his time here, scoring an unbeaten 39 while batting at No.8 before failing the trouble the scorers in the second innings.

But it’s not only the cricket that ties Smith to Kent. Smith revealed: “I was born in Sydney but my mum is from Kent.”

That means Smith qualified to play for England through his mum but that was never an option as far as 28 Test representative was concerned.

He said: “Surrey tried to get me when I was over here in 2007 after I played some 2nd XI games for them. But my dream has always been to wear a Baggy Green cap and play for Australia.”

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