I say 'update', I've not done many posts on the Second XI frankly, certainly not as many as I should've done, especially given their propensity to win games, unlike their senior colleagues. Anyway, the game against a pretty strong Hampshire Second XI starting today has sparked my interest.
The Hampshire side isn't a terrifically strong bowling one, only Chris Benham rings any bells on that front, but its a genuinely strong bowling outfit for a Second XI side. All the bowlers bar one who bowled today have played first team cricket; Hamza Riazuddin, David Griffiths, Liam Dawson, Chris Wood and last but by no means least, one Simon Philip Jones, he of that 2005 Ashes attack at the time labelled the best in the world.
So, quite a challenge for Surrey's batsmen then. They responded in impressive fashion, Surrey's openers putting on an unbeaten century partnership - something the First XI haven't managed to do in 11 Championship games.
I'm working hard to create a buzz around one of those openers. We know about Arun Harinath, his talents and limitations at this early stage but his opening partner in this game is the really interesting one. Seren Waters, about whom I've banged on in the past, ended 80 not out from 128 balls. As Surrey search, seemingly endlessly, for a quality opening pair, they could do a lot worse than try this lad out for size on the big stage.
A couple of other points of interest too, Neil Saker has been thrown a lifeline by Surrey having last played for the club at the end of 2008. I was never impressed with Saker, he seemed to have neither pace nor enough control of line and length to pick up hatfuls. He played 18 Championship games for us and returned just 31 wickets at the Mohammed Sami-esque average of 50.
Final point of interest is a trial for Michael Johnson, a wicket-keeper batsman who hails from Perth and is Luke Ronchi's understudy at Western Australia. He barely has a first class record to speak of, but the very fact that he has a state contract suggests to me that he's pretty decent. Are Surrey preparing for life after an England call-up for Steve Davies? Not such a bad idea....
Update: Michael Brown has made the first tentative steps towards a return from injury, although he's not in this Second XI squad he did play in the Surrey Championship Premier Division match between Wimbledon and Cobham. Not quite County Championship I grant you and the return was relatively meagre, a run-a-ball 39, but he hasn't played proper cricket for many a month, and he's a really good player to have back in the squad, good luck to him.
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