Building a cricket team Surrey style

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Ricky Ponting’s signed for Surrey. He also got fined the other day for throwing his bat after being dismissed. Mindlessly throwing the bat is how one or two Surrey batsmen approach first-class cricket, so he should fit in well.

About this time last year, there were a stack of articles about how exciting everything was at Surrey, about how they had all this young talent and how the glory days were about to return.

If Surrey do have some sort of ‘vision’ it is one where they keep placing fivers on the table until good players snatch them up and come and play for them.

There’s nothing wrong with this approach – in fact there’s little point having the money if you aren’t going to do anything with it – but it does make talk of ‘building a side’ and ‘investing in youth’ sound just a little bit hollow.

Yes, Surrey doubtless are coaching their youngsters hoping that they’ll become future greats, but they simply don’t have as much vested in this process as other counties because over the last year or so they’ve imported:

  • Graeme Smith
  • Ricky Ponting
  • Kevin Pietersen
  • Vikram Solanki
  • Steven Davies
  • Gareth Batty
  • Jon Lewis
  • Gary Keedy
  • Chris Tremlett

Every county imports a few players, but the above isn’t a million miles away from being some sort of county superteam. Even with nine players.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. Batty and Davies joined Surrey in 2009, Tremlett in 2010. Fair points, though. If Surrey fall apart in the next few years it will doubtless be traced back to the loss of Maynard, which hit the likes of Hamilton-Brown, Roy and Davies extremely hard.

  2. Great stuff, KC.

    Not only is the domestic schedule a dog’s breakfast (let’s hope proposed changes improve it) but so is the use of overseas players.

    Also, with Counties perenially cash strapped and with football style wage inflation begining to encroach into the games’ finances, what is the point of all of this in and out player flow?

    No chance of any badge kissing – many of the T20 imports won’t be around long enough to recognise their county motif!

    The Enemy Within was a very interesting book written in the late 1980’s/1990’s, I think and came up with no concrete conclusion on the benefits of overseas players; while gate income often did increase, the assistance to local player development remained unproven added to the fact that usually, an overseas player took the place of a bright young thing who could not now get into the side!

  3. Ha!

    I was wondering last night about the players Leicestershire have lost over recent years, mostly to poncey sides with Test Match grounds and/or buckets of money. I managed to come up with a half decent XI from the last decade or so.

    Iain Sutcliffe
    Darren Stevens
    Darren Maddy
    Ben Smith
    Aftab Habib
    James Taylor
    Paul Nixon (okay, he came back, but only after Geraint Jones took his job)
    Stuart Broad
    Luke Wright
    Harry Gurney
    Alan Mullally

    Wayne White swanned off to Lancs this close season too, I see. Jim Allenby was another loss.

    I expect Ned Eckersley, Nathan Buck, Shiv Thakor, and maybe Josh Cobb to bugger off before too long. Thakor is already making pointed threats. He’ll be up the M1 to Notts, I bet.

    1. On a less depressing note, I’m going to Centurion today for Downtown Africa vs Ajmal. Weather is clearing up nicely, gonna be a warm day! Look out for the “KC couldn’t make it” banner.. maybe. Really hope the Count can make it, I miss him.

  4. Mindlessly throwing the bat is how one or two Surrey batsmen approach first-class cricket, so he should fit in well.


    Don’t really care about Surrey’s yoofs but I can’t get over that opening burn, it’s amazing

  5. Have I made this up, or do the counties not have to work within a salary cap? Im sure someone has been docked points before for exceeding it, but nobody seems to have noticed that Surrey are working with the GDP of a small country

    1. I think the deal is that Surrey can have as much money and as many good players as they like, as long as they agree to continue not to win anything.

  6. This post made me look at Jon Lewis’s first class stats, and I was surprised to see a bowling average of 26, with 35 5-wicket hauls. He didn’t look THAT good in the couple of ODIs I have seen him in. Now I feel sorry that the rest of the world didn’t get to see Lewis in action in test cricket.

    1. Jon Lewis is a competent swing bowler who mainly played in the second division of the CC, so an average of 26 is not that impressive. the cricket is much lower-scoring than in Australia or especially India.

      He’s a good bowler, but not a remarkable one. Glenn Chapple, Mark Davies and David Masters have better records and none were considered Test class.

  7. Top posting, KC.

    When I saw that Ponting had signed for Slurrey, I wondered whether you’d rise to the bait. I needn’t have worried even for a second.

    Meanwhile, in other news, from my side of the river, I notice that “The Finn Problem”, as it is now being described, will henceforward be called “no-ball” rather than “warning followed by dead ball”.

    In short…

    …wait for it…

    …Finn’s ain’t what they used to be.

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