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Friday, 19 October, 2001, 08:56 GMT 09:56 UK
Smith switches counties
Ben Smith playing for Leicestershire
Smith: A new challenge and New Road
Worcestershire have strengthened their squad for next summer by signing former Leicestershire batsman Ben Smith.

The 29-year-old drops into Division Two of the County Championship after agreeing a three-year contract.

"I'm looking forward to playing for Worcestershire as much as I did 12 years ago when I started at Grace Road.

"I will always have fond memories of Leicestershire, but there comes a time when you have to make a decision for yourself, and that time came for me."

Smith has scored more than 9,700 first-class runs, including 23 centuries, since his debut in 1990 at an average of 39.

He was a member of Leicestershire's Championship-winning team in 1996 and 1998 and made 1,197 runs during the 2001 season - the only player to pass 1,000 runs for the county.

Worcestershire could only finish sixth in the Second Division, but won promotion in the one-day Norwich Union League.

"Apart from being an outstanding county cricketer, Ben brings a winning mentality to the team," said Worcestershire Director of Cricket Tom Moody.

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