Thursday, 26 January 2012

Dirk's back for 2012 T20

Australian left-arm seamer Dirk Nannes has re-signed for Surrey for this year’s Friends Life T20.

Dirk is without doubt a Twenty 20 specialist and is still the leading wicket taker in the format’s history with 169 victims to his name. He had a very good first season with Surrey in 2011, claiming 19 wickets at an average of 20.05, including figures of 5-40 in a memorable London derby win at Lord’s. He will add vast experience to the Surrey bowling line up, who could be without Jade Dernbach and Stuart Meaker due to the ODI series against the West Indies coinciding with the FLT20.

Since leaving Surrey in June last year, Dirk has kept himself busy by playing for three different teams; The Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mountaineers from Zimbabwe and the Melbourne Renegade in the Aussie Big Bash. Before joining up with Surrey in June, Dirk will be playing in the IPL for RCB again, getting himself ready to try and help Surrey reach the knockout stage of the T20 for the first time since 2006.

Manager Chris Adams has also confirmed that overseas signing Murali Kartik will miss the start of the season due to his IPL commitments. Kartik could miss up to 7 Championship games if his team go far in the competition and Adams has said, once the IPL auction is over on February 4th, he will be looking to bring in a quality overseas replacement for the vital start to Surrey’s return to LVCC Division 1.

With the possibility of Tom Maynard and Jason Roy being involved in the IPL, a batsman or an all-rounder could be ideal for Adams. The IPL runs until the end of May and if they are both bought in the auction, the batting will look weak for a vital part of the season. Both, especially Maynard, played big roles in Surrey's promotion last season and I feel Surrey need their best batsman available to compete in Division 1. With bowler's such as Dernbach, Lewis, Jordan, Dunn, Meaker, Batty and de Bruyn all possibly being available, the bowling looks far stronger than the batting, especially if Roy and Maynard aren't available. Apart from, Davies, de Bruyn, RHB and Ramprakash, there isn't much in the squad so I feel Adams will be looking to strengthen this if Maynard and Roy are bought on February 4th.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Surrey Players' Abroad Part 2

Over the winter, 10 of Surrey’s first team squad have travelled around the world to brush up on their skills, playing for their country or for a club team. Here is the second instalment of how they are getting on.

Rory Hamilton- Brown
The Surrey skipper hasn’t been in the best form over the winter months. After having a retched time in the group stage of the Zimbabwe T20 competition for the Mashonaland Eagles, his form didn’t get much better in the knockout stages, hitting scores of 26 and then just 5 in the final in which his team lost to Mountaineers. After the T20, RHB stayed with the Eagles for a one dayer and a 4 day match, hitting 21 in the former and getting a duck in the latter. Hamilton- Brown will of hoped his fortunes would have changed when he travelled to New Zealand to play in their T20 competition for Wellington, but it didn’t get much better. He scored 7 in his first game against Canterbury and 7 again and 1-19 against Northern Districts in the second game. He still has a few games to go and will be hoping to find the form Surrey fans know he has before April.

Jade Dernbach
England international Jade Dernbach hasn’t had the best times since signing for the Melbourne Stars to play in the Australian T20. He played the first two games of the tournament for the Stars, who are captained by Shane Warne, but conceded a combined 80 runs in those two games and has only claimed 1 wicket. As well as with his bowling, he has had some issued with his attitude shown on the pitch, which Surrey and England fans will be aware of. He has now lost his place in the side and hasn’t played since the 20th of December. Jade will be hoping to prove everyone wrong and regain his place by letting his bowling do the talking.

Zander de Bruyn
In the first part of Surrey Players Abroad, I mentioned that Zander de Bruyn had lost his place in Highveld Lions team due to poor form. Sadly for Zander, this is still the case, as he hasn’t played since November 18th as the Lions’ middle order has played well enough to keep him out. However, this could benefit Surrey as playing cricket all year round for a 36 year old could be tough, so a rest may be vital for him to be in top form come April.

Murali Kartik
Since signing in late November, Murali Kartik has played a couple of four day games for his Indian side Railways. In the first of these games, Murali hit 27 runs and took 5-27 in Uttah Pradesh’s second innings, to help his side to an innings victory. In the following game, Railways played Orissa with Murali claiming 3-74, as the sides settled for a draw after some relatively slow batting in the first innings’. It is not quite clear yet if Murali will play in the IPL or join Surrey in April, but whenever he does turn up, it has been a clever signing by Adams.

Tom Maynard
The England Lions’ have played 4 games on their tour of Bangladesh, but batsman Tom Maynard has played in just one of those, today in a poor defeat against Bangladesh A. The Lions were beaten by 75 runs, with Maynard scoring just 3. England still have 4 games remaining on their tour of Bangladesh, before they travel to Sri Lanka for 5 ODI’s, so there is plenty of time for Maynard to show how good he is.

Jason Roy
Jason Roy has played three of the 4 Lions’ games, but hasn’t done too well, leading him to be dropped for today’s game. He top scored with 40 in a warm up match against Bangladesh A, but in the following ODI’s he hit scores of 10 & 0. However, due to the terrible loss today, Roy may be able to find his way back into the team and pin down a place in a strong lions squad.

Stuart Meaker
Fast bowler Meaker has without doubt has had the better time of it than his 2 Surrey colleagues. Meaker has played in all 4 of England’s games, taking 8 wickets, including career best List A figures of 4-47. He will hoping to continue this form to try and alert the selectors attention once again and be picked for the ODI squad to play Pakistan.

Chris Tremlett
The big 6ft 8 bowler has finally made his cricketing come back this week, after not playing since July last year due to a variety of injuries, including more recently an eye infection. He was involved in England’s victory over a PCB X1 today, claiming 2 wickets in each innings, and bowling economically as always. Now that Tim Bresnan has flown home after an injury, Tremlett has to fight with Steve Finn, Graham Onions and even Monty Panesar for the 4th bowler’s spot, after the spinner claimed a fifer on Wednesday.

Kevin Pietersen
After committing his future to Surrey for the rest of his international career in December, KP has  had an eventful few weeks. Firstly, last week, he transferred from the Deccan Chargers to the Delhi Daredevils for the 2012 IPL, in which he can play up to early- mid May due to the Test series against the West Indies starting on May 17th. Since then, he has played in both of the warm up games for England, but has only scored a combined 57 runs, top scoring with 38.

Steve Davies
After being selected once again as Matt Prior’s understudy in Test cricket, Steve Davies would have been delighted to have been given his chance in the first warm up game due to an injury to Prior. Davies kept very well and scored 12 and a match winning 38* to help England to victory after they were in a spot of bother at 6 down with still 60 needed. However, Prior has recovered and was fit enough to play in the second warm up game this week, meaning Davies stepped aside. However, if Morgan and Pietersen continue their below par form, Davies may find a place in the side solely as a batsman.