HAMPSHIRE and England legend Robin Smith believes James Vince has a long future at the highest level – and has offered to help him fulfil his potential.

Vince’s England place is in the balance ahead of the crunch World Cup match against India at Edgbaston on Sunday, after three failures at the top of the order in the absence of the injured Jason Roy.

He also lost his Test place after last year’s Ashes series.

But Smith believes the 28 year-old Hampshire captain can still enjoy a successful international career.

Speaking to the Daily Echo from his home in Perth, he said: “James is an unbelievable talent. I think he’s an incredible player and love watching him score runs

“Having spoken to a lot of people at Hampshire about him I made sure I had a close look at him when he played in the Ashes over here last year.

“He can look magnificent but at the moment he’s one of those players I occasionally see who goes through their career being more unlucky than others.

“He seems to nick everything. You see some players playing and missing all day long but James seems to nick one before he’s played and missed at many at all.

“It’s like he nicks the first bad shot he plays.

“It’s not necessarily down to temperament or technique but I think his shot selection can be improved.

“At his best he reminds me of David Gower. I love the way he plays but there’s a fine balance between being an attacking player and a defensive player.

“He looks a great player but doesn’t always get in the right position and it’s about doing that consistently.

“If you don’t get into the right position consistently you won’t be as good as you should be.

“Having the quality he has, James should be more consistent.” I enjoyed meeting him last year, he seems like a great bloke as we all as being a fabulous player and

Vince is averaging 24.09 from 13 one-day internationals and 24.90 from 13 Tests, but Smith believes those figures can be doubled.

“At 28 he’s coming into his prime as a batsman and there’s no reason why he can’t play international cricket till he’s 35,” he continued

“I would love to work with him to help him achieve that.

“If he had time in the winter I would be more than happy to spend a couple of months working with him.

“Potentially, he’s got seven years ahead of him.

“Look at Adam Voges, he didn’t start playing Test cricket till he was 34 and his average is second only to Sir Donald Bradman.

“James is capable of playing as long as that provided he’s fit and motivated and his eyes are good.

“There’s so much ahead for him and he’ll learn so much in the next five years.

“There’s no reason why he can’t go on to play 60 Tests.

“At the moment he reminds me of Mark Ramprakash, who I batted with when he came into the England team.

“He would be playing magnificently but then suddenly get out. Giles White is another one in that category.

“Technically, he was one of the best players I played with. He would play beautifully for 25, then nick one and get out. I used to ask ‘why?’

“There is some pressure there for James, knowing his place will be gone when Jason Roy is fit. But it’s not real pressure.

“Pressure isn’t playing for England when you know you’ve got a career as Hampshire’s captain if it doesn’t work out.

“There’s a lot more pressure when you know you need runs for Hampshire at the end of the season to earn a new contract so you can pay the mortgage.”

Smith was back in Hampshire earlier this month for the launch of his autobiography The Judge, a harrowing tale of his descent into alcoholism and depression after his outstanding career with Hampshire and England.

“There have been 67 suicides by former cricketers and I could easily have been the 68th ,” says the 55 year-old, candidly. “Losing the respect of my two children, Harrison and Margaux, was the hardest thing.

“There’s nothing worse than knowing you’re doing the wrong thing but not being able to do anything about it.

“It took a visit from Harrison to stop me from throwing myself over the side of a 14-storey building.

“I had a wonderful network and support around me but didn’t reach out until it was nearly too late.

“When I played cricket I didn’t want to show any weaknesses and I didn’t want to expose any as a human being either.

“So I decided to fight it on my own. But there’s a lot I want to share now and I just hope the book helps other people who are struggling with similar issues.

“Hopefully it helps persuade others to communicate before their situation gets too bad. There’s so much support out there for those who need it.”

Smith’s marriage to Kathy broke down as a result of his struggles but happily he is now engaged to his partner Karin, who provided the spark that helped turn his life around after they met in 2013.

“We need support in life the most amazing thing is she didn’t know anything about cricket,” smiles Smith.

“She loves me for who I am and not what I’ve been and for me that’s so special.”

Smith’s selflessness and legendary work ethic remain as strong as ever.

He plans to start a psychology degree later this year and is currently working on three fronts.

“I work ten hours a day for my brother [and former Hampshire teammate] Chris’s embroidery company, from 6.30am.

"Then I coach at a local private school with PT (former Hampshire player and coach Paul Terry).

“My dad’s well but my 89 year-old mum’s health is deteriorating so I care for in the evenings.”

The Judge by Robin Smith with Rob Smyth was published by Yellow Jersey Press earlier this month.