Sunday, 19 September 2010

Season Review: The batsmen

Rory Hamilton-Brown
The numbers – CC 808 runs @ 29, CB40 478 runs @ 43, T20 397 runs @ 28

What to say about our young skipper? He could have crashed and burned spectacularly, this season saw six county captains fall by the wayside, all a good deal more experienced than the 22 year old Hamilton-Brown, but he remains at the helm. And in my view, he should remain there for the foreseeable future. Ok, there were times when his captaincy was a bit directionless, and I think he needs to think about using the young bowlers more considerately, but for me there has been enough to suggest this guy is a leader of men. His leadership aside, I have gone on the record as thinking he needs to learn to pace an innings better, he has appeared a bit one paced this season. To his immense credit, that pace is right in top gear – his average (42) and strike rate (150) in the CB40 makes him one of the outstanding openers in the country in that format this season. His bowling has been something of a disappointment, no wickets in the CC and only a handful in other competitions, I wonder if he’s under-bowled himself a touch this season. His average once he passes 20 is over 55, but his big scores are interspersed with too many nothing scores – often when the team needs a big knock. Verdict: A tough year, but he passed the test, just 7/10.

Mark Ramprakash
The numbers – CC 1,595 runs @ 61, CB40 326 runs @ 46, T20 331 runs @ 36

There’s not a great deal I can say about the man, the legend, the Ramps, that hasn’t already been said. Another outstanding season which tailed off ever so slightly towards the end. The middle season period which in a run of 10 innings included scores of 223, 103*, 70, 79*, 73, 99 and 248 was vintage Ramps and without him we would have been completely lost. The man is a machine and if next season is to be his last with the club, we are in serious trouble. He maintains a strike rate in the CC of 56 with just 58% of runs scored in boundaries. He continues to contribute across all forms and to my mind should’ve played more in the CB40, though maybe his advancing years put paid to that! There is a slight concern that 36% of his dismissals were clean bowled, and six out of his last ten innings this season ended in that fashion, but I don’t doubt he will return next year and still bag many a hundred. Verdict: Churning out the runs as ever, superb 9/10 

Steven Davies
The numbers – CC 887 runs @ 49, CB40 485 runs @ 60, T20 389 runs @ 29

Vying for the title of newcomer of the year with Chris Tremlett, Davies has been a revelation across all formats this season. I knew he was a serious talent, but I didn’t know he was quite this good. England duties restricted him to 12 of the 16 CC games, and it was much to the detriment of the team in those he missed. Unfortunately it looks like his England duties are only likely to increase in the coming years. Opening the innings in the CB40 he was superbly consistent, and in the T20 he was simply ballistic, a strike rate of over 160 and 13 sixes in 13 innings. An average of close to 50 in the CC at a strike rate of 65 indicates he’ll be an integral part of the side in that format too in years to come. His keeping was steady if unspectacular, on average 2.25 catches per match but not a single stumping (though that says more about our lack of spinners). An absolutely brilliant acquisition for the club. Verdict: A revelation across the board 9/10 

Tom Lancefield 
The numbers – CC 323 runs @ 32, T20 65 runs @ 21 

Just 19 years old, I really liked what I saw from Lancefield to begin with in the T20s. He seemed willing and able to hit powerfully over the top, but his early innings were the bright spots, I think the pressure of opening the innings might have gotten him down in the end. Scored runs by the truckload in the Seconds but one fifty (I don’t count the fifty against the buffet bowling from Gloucs) in 11 innings isn’t up to scratch. He also needs to work on his fielding. Despite this, still our most successful CC opener this year. His strike rate of 47 but 64% of runs scored in boundaries tells a story of a player who needs to learn to work the ball around more – an important skill for an opener. Verdict: His time will come 5/10. 

Arun Harinath 
The numbers – CC 537 runs @ 25

I probably put the ultimate curse on Harinath at the end of last season when I said I thought he’d go on to be a good player for us, because this year he hasn’t performed. He was dropped from the side twice, which isn’t good for a young opener, but that aside he has looked well out of his depth. A tendency towards funereal pace, never more obvious than during his 62 from 290 balls against Sussex, would more often than not lead to him being tied down and he doesn’t appear to have the shots yet to get him out of trouble. I like him though, and his attitude and powers of concentration lead me to believe he may yet go on to become an important player for Surrey. Verdict: Plenty to work on 4/10.

Gary Wilson 
The numbers – CC 339 runs @ 48, CB40 15 runs @ 5, T20 51 runs @ 51

They may well be the numbers, but they do not tell the full story of this little Irishman’s season. I am happy to admit I used to think he was rubbish, but it seems he was just never given the right chance. He would always come in at 8 or sometimes even 9 in the T20s in 2009 and invariably got out trying a reverse flick or something else extravagant. What I should’ve done was praise him for being one of our few players willing to innovate, because he’s clearly got the talent. Fully deserved his maiden first class hundred and towards the end of the season he was a reliable part of our lower middle order. His average at number 6, where I believe he should play for us regardless of whether Davies is in the side, is over 60. Verdict: Improved out of sight, excellent 8/10.

Usman Afzaal 
The numbers – CC 451 runs @ 25, CB40 124 runs @ 62, T20 14 runs @ 7

In the end it seems Usman’s face just didn’t fit with the Adams regime. He was always a terribly lazy fielder, and when the runs which were compensating for that dried up, he had to be dropped. He’s got all the talent in the world and his career average should never be below 40, but you wonder if he has the drive to push himself to the next level. His performances for us this season were rubbish and there were some particularly horrible and ill-timed dismissals. I think he should maybe have been given more matches in the CB40 where the lower-middle order was missing some power, but ultimately, his time had probably come and gone. Good luck to him wherever he lands next. Verdict: All the talent, none of the application 3/10.

Stewart Walters 
The numbers – CC 242 runs @ 24, CB40 271 runs @ 38, T20 184 runs @ 46

Lots of not outs in the T20 inflated his average, and his Championship performances were poor. An astronomical 80% of runs scored in boundaries and yet a strike rate below 60 isn’t a good combination. To his credit he did put in some impressive knocks in the CB40 but he never quite repeated the purple patch he experienced in the middle of 2009 where he scored about a billion runs. The fact that he scored twin hundreds in the Second XI Championship game and still wasn’t selected for the final First XI game speaks volumes. A good fielder and he may well be a positive presence in the dressing room, but for me, not quite good enough. Verdict: 2011 might be a year too far, thanks for the memories Stewart 5/10.

Jason Roy 
The numbers – CC 170 runs @ 34, CB40 92 runs @ 18, T20 242 runs @ 30

The find of the season, no question. His hundred against Kent in the T20 was quite superb, and his ability to hit almost anything for six will come in very handy. Showed his versatility in opening the innings, to reasonably good effect, in the Championship at the end of the season but ideally he belongs in the middle order for me. Averaging 30 at a strike rate of 150 in the T20 at the age of just 19 in a monumental achievement and he is one of the main reasons I can’t wait for 2011. You know something is going to happen when Roy is at the crease, and that makes him a joy to watch. When he first appeared in 2008 he brought little with the bat but his fielding was electric – this season as he’s bulked out he seems to have lost a little of that, I hope he can rediscover his mojo in that department. Verdict: Will 2011 be the Year of the Roy? 8/10

Younus Khan 
The numbers – CC 155 runs @ 38, T20 154 runs @ 15

A major disappointment, not much more to say than that really. If he’d have played the whole season in the Championship I suspect he would’ve been up there with Ramps with 1,500 or so runs. However he was a poor signing for the Twenty20 Cup alone. Only one innings of note in that competition and offering very little in the field. We are assured he brought plenty to the dressing room, but I’m not convinced. Verdict: Big let down, but not his best format 3/10 

The others: Laurie Evans was released before the end of the season, he was given just a single match to prove his worth, he delivered just 17 runs at the top of the order. My campaign to create a buzz around young Kenyan international Seren Waters goes on, I genuinely believe he has a future in the Surrey top order and I hope he’s given a chance next season.  As for KP, three innings, 41 runs in the Championship, not much to say there, but his 116 against Sussex in the CB40 saved that game for us and was one of the best innings by a Surrey batsman all season.  Will he be back?  I wouldn't mind it if he was.


Symo14 said...

A very fair assessment I think.

I was concerned that we were overly reliant on Ramprakash at times (again) but if Roy and Lancefield can continue to improve, RHB can rein himself in when needed and Davies can stay out of the test team (!) I'll approach next year with more confidence.

On Walters - was very disappointed with him. Hasn't performed at all this season. Be interesting to see if he can find himself elsewhere, should he leave this winter.

Also I see Harinath was named "dullest batsman of the season" by the Guardian! Poor chap.

GreenJJ said...

Cheers Symo.
We do need to wean ourselves off the reliance on Ramps' runs, he won't be around forever! Walters was a huge disappointment, he's really only had one purple patch with the club, I think he's had more than enough chances personally.