The Emirates Twenty20 Trophy, currently being played out in Dubai featuring Surrey (in a rather fetching dark brown and lime green one day kit), a young 'emerging' Cape Cobras side, Sussex and a Fly Emirates XI, who are essentially amateurs plus one of the best ringers of all time - Shahid Afridi!
Now, a narrow win against a bunch of club cricketers and a crushing defeat to a team with an average age of 20 - what Surrey have achieved in their two games so far - might not exactly be reason for optimism, but its no reason to despair either.
My first reaction when I saw the 46 run defeat to the Cobras was 'business as usual, normal service is resumed for Surrey', but that's rubbish when I think about it. Most of the Surrey lads will be coming in to the tournament completely cold having gone without competitive cricket for months, whereas at least some of the Cobras side will have had recent match practice what with the South African domestic season in full swing.
Ok, whatever mitigating circumstances there are, what is clearly a talented Surrey side should've notched more than 88 runs against the youngsters, but its not the end of the world. The game against Sussex will pit two teams at the same stage of their pre-season against one another, so it'll be a good chance to assess the relative strengths of the teams.
Of course Surrey also have Davies, Tremlett and Nel to come in, not to mention Rao and then Chawla, so there's still something in the locker. And Rory Hamilton-Brown's knock of 41 in the first game, off only 23 balls and four wickets for less than fifty runs from the two games is nothing to be sneered at.
If we can't muster more than 88 runs when the season starts proper, I'll be extremely angry, but for now, lets just wait and see what happens.
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