It is safe to say that Surrey haven’t had the ideal start to the domestic season. After a long hard fought draw against Essex in their first County Championship match, they began the road to Lord’s in the Royal London One Day Cup with two away encounters to Gloucestershire and Sussex. The trip up to Bristol initially went well as they bowled out the hosts for 235 with England’s Tom Curran and experienced seamer Rikki Clarke sharing 7 wickets. With Jason Roy opening and plenty of fire power and excitement to come, Surrey faltered badly and were subsequently bowled out for 88, Roy incidentally top scoring with 19.
Up to the picturesque Hove on Good Friday and my home team Sussex snatched a two wicket win from the visitors largely thanks to a splendid 92NO from Koplak David Wiese as yet again Sussex showed their strength in depth and competition for places. This was definitely an improved performance from Surrey with Sri Lankan series star wicketkeeper Ben Foakes top scoring with 64 alongside T10 pre season centurion Will Jacks who scored 56. Tom Curran starred with the ball but was very much a lone hand with Liam Plunkett struggling for form and rhythm ahead of the upcoming World Cup!
In a whirlwind tournament which features the 8 group matches plus finals, time is not on Surrey’s side with their last match in just over 2 weeks. The short turn arounds including travel and training means for these county players it is the most intense and gruelling stage of the season where the hard graft starts. Surrey have an injury problem with talented all rounder Jordan Clark from Lancashire still out with a knee injury whilst all rounder Scott Borthwick and spinner Amar Virdi have side and back issues – seamer Matt Dunn is also down with illness. They have some higher profile unavailability’s with Sam Curran playing in the IPL and overseas star Dean Elgar not arriving until next week.
Liam Plunkett has and is struggling from the winter with his form and rhythm in his bowling and has been very costly and expensive with the ball in the RLODC and in the last 5 ODIS. Stoneman and Burns have not had great records in List A cricket and with the injuries they occupy spots where they need to be aggressive and its perhaps not their natural game.
Its not all lost for Surrey (and I am only summarising in the opening month of matches) but they need their senior players to step up and make a difference for a side plagued with injuries and will be tested to the roots with their squad depth. Another injury plagued bowler Stuart Meaker will play a key role in his comeback along with all rounder Ryan Patel in all 3 formats. With the inclusion of Elgar next week and the returns of the injured players coming in the next few weeks, can Surrey revitalise and surge towards the qualification of the One Day Cup!