Friday, 2 November 2012

Surrey Players Abroad Part 1

While most of the Surrey first team squad are taking part in a much deserved break over the winter months, some of the squad have travelled around the world competing in a variety of competitions. Here is how they have been getting on.

Zander de Bruyn
The South African all rounder finished the season with Surrey brilliantly, but couldn’t continue that form into the Supersport series for the Highveld Lions. He scored 85 in his 4 innings, with a top score of 34, and claimed 3 wickets at an average of 43.50. The Lions then competed in the Champions League T20, where they beat Mumbai Indians superbly in their opening game, with de Bruyn bowling 4 wicketless overs. His poor form continued, as he barely found any time in the middle, leading to him being dropped for the last 4 games of the tournament. His side did do well though, reaching the final before being beaten by Sydney Sixers.

Jade Dernbach
After picking up 3-14 in England’s final warm up game ahead of the ICC World T20 against Pakistan, I think it is fair to say that we didn’t see the best of Jade Dernbach thereafter. He took two wickets against the minnows Afghanistan, but in his final 3 games of the competition, he conceded a minimum of 38 off his 4 overs in each of the games, and picking up just the two further wickets in the process. Jade will now link up with the England performance squad in India, where he will be hoping to impress before the ODI series against India in the new year.

Stuart Meaker
Along with Jade, Meaks has also been named in the England Performance squad to travel to India, and he will be hoping to impress enough to gain a place in the England ODI squad.

Kevin Pietersen
It’s been an eventful few months for KP hasn’t it? Sitting in the TV studio while England were struggling in the World T20, before being called up again for the tour to India this month. Like de Bruyn, he also played in the Champions League T20, for his IPL side Delhi Daredevils. The obvious question posed is, if we qualified for the tournament, who would he have played for? His side crashed out at the Semi Final stage, despite a half century from KP, against the Lions. He made his first return to the middle for England in the first warm up game against India A, scoring 24.

Graeme Smith
Our new skipper will captain his country in a mouth-watering test series against Australia this winter. Smith and his side are already in Australia practising ahead of the tests which start in just over a week’s time. Following the tests will be an ODI series against the Aussies, before South Africa play Pakistan in the new year.

Gary Wilson
Gary Wilson posted scores of 5 and 21 for Ireland, who had a rather disappointing ICC World Twenty 20 campaign, failing to cause an upset as they lost to Australia and eventual winners West Indies. 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Graeme Smith joins Surrey

Surrey have today announced the signing of South African test captain Graeme Smith on a 3 year contract.

Even though this has been rumoured for a few weeks now, it is a real coup for our club to attract someone of Smith’s stature in the game, with him also taking over from the departed Rory Hamilton-Brown as permanent skipper for the next 3 seasons. He has undoubted experience in the game, captaining his country since he was 22 years old, and at the age of 31, he still has plenty to offer. Scoring over 8000 test runs at an average of just under 50, he is one of the greatest cricketers to come out of South Africa.

For years now we have been in desperate need of a solid opening pair in the County Championship, and with the emergence of Rory Burns this year, it looks like we have finally sorted out this problem. Well, only when Smith is available that is. He will still play for and captain his country “for many years to come”, so we may not see him all the time at the Oval. He will participate in the Champions Trophy in June of next year, and in July-August will play 5 ODI’s in Sri Lanka, but other than that he will be available. He will arrive at Surrey in late march and will play the first part of the season, as he will not be taking part in IPL 2013.

Chris Adams has labelled Smith as “the best captain of his time” and I don’t think there will be many that will argue with him. Some supporters may be disappointed that, after his wonderful work towards the end of last season, Gareth Batty will not be the captain next season, but I think when Smith is away with South Africa then Batts will probably take over the reigns. You cannot underestimate the job that Batty did last season, in such difficult circumstances, but I’m not totally sure that he wanted the job full time.

Smith is the third, and undoubtedly the best, signing we have made in the close season, along with Gary Keedy and Vikram Solanki. All three of them have passed the 30, and some would argue that we are not really building for the future. However, experience is crucial in a team, and especially in a team that have had such an emotional 2012 season, so I see that having one of the most experienced teams on the county circuit as a positive, not a negative.

Finally, I would just like to congratulate Adams and co for this wonderful signing, and hopefully bringing back the good days to our club. We still have a long way to go to be a major force in all 3 competitions, but we are certainly making strides to becoming one of the best, and I personally cannot wait for next season to start.