GLOUCESTERSHIRE have solved their spin bowling crisis by signing slow left-armer Tom Smith on loan from Middlesex.
The 25-year-old made his debut in the three-day tour match against Australia A at the County Ground in Bristol and will also represent them in the Friends Life t20 competition, which gets underway on Friday.
Gloucestershire have had to rely on 17-year-old Miles Hammond as their sole spinner with Ed Young injured and Jack Taylor suspended pending an investigation into his bowling action.
Director of cricket John Bracewell said: “At a point where we have lost two of our spinners who, over the last two years, have been consistent and reliable t20 players for us (Jack Taylor and Ed Young), it is great to be able to call on the resources and opportunity that Middlesex have offered to use Tom Smith in our t20 campaign this season.
“He is a useful performer at this level of this game and a career best 5-24 in the competition shows that he will be a more than handy acquisition to our squad.”
Smith has played mainly one-day cricket for Middlesex, appearing in 36 List A and 42 Twenty20 matches. He also has 13 first class games behind him.
He has taken 38 wickets at an average of 25 in Twenty20, with a best of 5-24 against Kent in 2010. He also averages 24 with the bat in the shortest format.
Smith has a highest score of 65 in List A cricket, which has seen him take 25 wickets. He has played in both the LV=County Championship and Yorkshire Bank 40 for Middlesex this season.
He said: “I would to thank Gloucestershire CCC for giving me this opportunity and I am extremely grateful.
“It’s going to be an exciting month and I can’t wait to get stuck in on Friday. Gloucestershire is a club I always admired when I’ve played against them and now to be a part of this exciting squad is great.
“I would also like to thank Angus Fraser and Richard Scott at Middlesex for their part in this deal.”
Smith had figures of 0-26 and 1-12 against Australia A.
The tourists made a rapid 331-4 declared on the first day with Nic Maddinson smashing 181 off 143 balls, including nine sixes, with Benny Howell claiming the best bowling figures of 2-37.
Gloucestershire were then rolled over for 122, Howell again shining brightest with a top score of 35, but Australia declined to enforce the follow-on and the hosts were handed an unlikely route back into the game.
Will Gidman took 4-25 as Australia collapsed to 111 all out and fellow Thornbury club player Chris Dent hit 56 to get Gloucestershire's chase off to a good start.
They went into the final day on 162-3, requiring a further 159 to win.
Full report to follow after the game.