Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Rao Iftikhar - not great, not terrible

I was perhaps expecting a bigger name as our fill-in overseas player while young Chawla is away at the IPL playing for the Kings XI, but the signing of Rao Iftikhar Anjum was announced on the Surrey site today.

It would be easy to dismiss him as a bit-part player in Pakistan internationals over the past six or seven years, who is unlikely to set the world alight for the few games he's available, but I think he mightn't be the worst signing in the world.

In early English season conditions, greenish pitches and perhaps some overhead conditions conducive to swing, his mid-to-late 80s pace and ability to swing the ball might just see him picking up a clutch of wickets.

I should say at this point that I distinctly remember saying that Grant Elliott was a better signing than he seemed on the surface, and he wasn't all that great at all! But I think Rao has a lot more pedigree than Elliott, he has getting on for 500 wickets in all forms under his belt, and at a healthy average too. In ODIs, of which he's played 62, he might not have picked up hatfuls of wickets, but 77 have come his way at 31 apiece.

I think a seam attack boasting Rao, Tremlett, Nel and Dernbach backed up by some decent spinning options in Schofield, Batty and Hamilton-Brown should see us competing at the very least.

It is an odd feeling, to be mildly optimistic after a few years of despair, but here's hoping that optimism isn't misplaced!

Note: I'm still a bit concerned at our lack of a second overseas signing for the Twenty20 Cup, especially in light of Hampshire's signing of Abdul Razzaq to join Afridi (I'm told Mendis is no longer available). I hope Surrey have something up their sleeves!

Here's a little video of Rao picking up three wickets, De Villiers bowled, Kemp to a slightly questionable LBW (might have been outside the line!) and Botha caught slogging:


Rich Abbott said...

I don't think your optimism is misplaced. Surrey are on the up. As a Hampshire fan, I reckon Tremlett could be your most interesting signing. Can be an infuriating player, but only because when he gets it right he really is devastating. new move could be just what he needed. Really interesting to see how RHB goes as well...

GreenJJ said...

Most encouraging to hear that from a fan of another county, a different perspective and all. I really think Tremlett will be a hit if he can just stay fit, I'm going to have to have my fingers perpetually crossed for that. I am a 100% RHB convert, didn't think much of him when he was here before (I distinctly remember him failing to score the boundary that would have taken us to 500 in the one day game where we scored 496-4!), but he looks the business now.

You must be excited by all this talk of Simon Jones being fit, and Afridi and Razzaq for the Twenty20?! An attack featuring Jones, Kabir, Razzaq and Afridi is a bit tasty!