If Surrey are going to have any realistic chance of staying in Division One of the County Championship, then they must beat one of their rivals for the drop, Derbyshire at the Kia Oval starting tomorrow.
However, that is going to be a far from easy task, as Derbyshire have won their last two Championship games and are “buzzing” according to coach Karl Krikken. Surrey fans know well that when a team start stringing results together (end of 2011 and 2012 seasons), they are very hard to beat, so we will have to be at the top of our game this week to overcome a rejuvenated Derby side.
Here is our squad and probable line up for tomorrow:
Zander de Bruyn
There are a couple of omissions from the squad that travelled to Durham last week. Jon Lewis hasn’t been selected and will play for the Second X1, alongside Gary Keedy. Gary Wilson will also play for the Second X1 before he heads off on international duty and Jade Dernbach is playing for England in the T20 tomorrow evening, hence his unavailability.
Jason Roy has once again been left out which points to the opinion that he may be allowed to leave at the end of the season. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jason Roy and would be disgusted if the club let him leave, but he isn’t getting any sort of game time in the Championship and he doesn’t seemed to have progressed over the last 2 years. And with his contract running out this winter, who knows what will happen, but I really hope he stays.
There are a couple of new faces in the squad, with tall fast bowler George Edwards and batsman Dominic Sibley being named in the party. I’ve always liked the look of Edwards but injuries have hampered his chances of being selected any earlier. When he picked up 5 wickets on his Championship debut against Worcestershire last year, I thought we had a very good bowler on our hands, but we haven’t seen much of him since. I don’t think he will get a game though, as 18 year old Tom Curran is likely to make his First Class debut. He has impressed in the YB40 this past month, and would have played earlier in the season according to Chris Adams on Twitter if he didn’t have a “bout of serious illness.”
However much I would like him to, Sibley probably won’t make a First Class debut tomorrow, with the old head of Zander de Bruyn amazingly keeping his place in the side. If de Bruyn’s averages were round the other way (He is averaging over 60 this season with the ball and 25 with the bat), then I could see why he is being picked, but by looking at those figures, surely it is worth giving someone else a crack.
It’s a blow that Jade isn’t available for such a big game, especially as Linley had a particularly poor return at Durham last week. However, we have to fight through it and with the help of an in form Chris Tremlett try and claim 20 wickets for only the second time this season, and the first at the Oval. If the pitch we are going to play on tomorrow is anything like the test match strip, then it may be hard for either side to force a result, but hopefully whatever the England players did to it on Sunday night spiced it up for us!
If we win this game then we would probably go above Derbyshire and possibly above Somerset, depending on how they get on against Middlesex, and we would still then have a game in hand over both teams. That may prove vital come the end of the season as there isn’t many points between the 3 sides, and victories do really help the cause dramatically at this point in the campaign.
Derbyshire have been depleted slightly, with both Chesney Hughes and Tim Groenewald missing the game due to the birth of their first child and the likes of Dan Redfern injured, so maybe this is a good time to be playing them.
However, as I said before, they are on the up at the moment and if we want to maintain our position in the First Division, we must produce a performance that warrants that status, by beating our rivals.