Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Season Review: The bowlers

Chris Tremlett
The numbers – CC 48 wkts @ 20, CB40 8 wkts @ 43, T20 24 wkts @ 17

35 matches, thirty five, in one season, who could’ve expected that? In a season where he’s excelled with the ball, that he’s played the majority of our games is the most encouraging number. Still, 80 wickets in all competitions is nonetheless hugely impressive and beyond even my most hopeful predictions. Seven four-fors and not a single five-for is unfortunate, but he tirelessly led our seam attack throughout the season. An Ashes tour as backup to the main bowlers beckons as reward, and so it should. There’s always that niggling worry in the back of your mind that he might break down, but maybe he really has put the injury worries behind him for good now. He also averaged 20 with the bat in the CC and provided plenty of very useful lower order runs. If I had one complaint it would be the 21 no balls in the Championship, he needs to keep an eye on his front foot, but apart from that, an enormously impressive season. Verdict: Good enough for England, good enough for me 9/10.

Andre Nel
The numbers – CC 21 wkts @ 32, CB40 7 wkts @ 20, T20 7 wkts @ 54

Huffed and puffed a lot, but didn’t take enough wickets. His performance on the last day of the Derbyshire game at Chesterfield, taking three wickets in 25 overs bowling essentially on one leg was heroic, but in the remaining two and a half months of the season he bowled just 28 overs in all competitions. His numbers in the T20 don’t reflect how well he bowled, his and Tremlett’s opening spells were crucial for us this year. Throughout his time with us he hasn’t taken wickets in the numbers he, or I would have liked him to and I wonder the money we pay him might be better spent on a young English seamer (James Harris please) or investing in our younger players. Ultimately too many injuries, too many bans and too few match winning spells. Another one with a front foot problem, 25 no balls in just seven matches isn’t good enough for a man of his experience. Not Gunter’s best year by a long shot. Verdict: Always gives 110%, but is he right for the club? 6/10

Jade Dernbach 
The numbers – CC 46 wkts @ 29, CB40 12 wkts @ 45, T20 3 wkts @ 32

What exactly do those numbers tell us? Dernbach is one of the few players I like to refer to by his first name, because I think he goes out onto the field for Surrey, not for himself. Jade gives his all, every single game. Alright he serves up plenty of filth, but that slower ball, my word, it is superb. He’s quick enough, and on his day, he’s more than good enough. Only problem is, when it isn’t his day, he’s crap. Bizarrely his economy rate of 6.5 in the T20, easily the best at the club, is contrasted with his economy of 7.2 in the CB40, easily one of the worst. He was injured at Lord’s when he was really building up a head of steam in all forms which won’t have helped his consistency. He also showed some ability with the bat, his fifty in a 100+ partnership with Andre Nel against Northants was crucial to us winning that game. His 86 wickets in the Championship in the last two seasons is miles more than anyone else at Surrey. Verdict: Good, could’ve been much better, needs to step up a gear in 2011 7/10

Iftikhar Anjum 
The numbers – CC 6 wkts @ 40, CB40 4 wkts @ 22

I almost can’t be bothered to write this, so I’ll keep it brief. I thought in early season conditions Iftikhar might’ve been a canny signing, just like I thought Grant Elliott might’ve been a canny signing. It’s difficult to decide who was worse in the end. Iftikhar, frankly, looked like he didn’t give a monkeys and was a massive disappointment. Verdict: Rubbish 2/10

Tim Linley
The numbers – CC 13 wkts @ 31, CB40 1 wkt @ 151, T20 3 wkts @ 20

I’m never sure what to make of The Viscount, one minute I think he’s a reliable option who will pick up enough wickets to justify his place in the side who can tie batsmen down, and the next I think he’s just a bit average. This season he was cruelly cut off in his prime during an excellent spell of 4-13 against Derbyshire, and never really got any form back. I don’t know if he’ll ever be anything more than a squad player, but he’s a decent enough one of those. Verdict: Is he or isn’t he? I dunno 5/10

Stuart Meaker
The numbers – CC 28 wkts @ 32, CB40 2 wkts @ 76, T20 3 wkts @ 29

When I watched Meaker bowl early in the season, in that horrible first game with Derbyshire, he looked very average. Far too may four balls, even in the Championship, and he just didn’t look quite up to it. It is to his tremendous credit that he improved significantly from there on in. He’s always been rapid, if not quite the ‘fastest bowler ever’ or whatever ridiculous label he was given a couple of years ago, but there have always been questions over his wicket-taking ability. This season he developed a pleasing tendency to take wickets in bundles, only Tremlett of the regular bowlers has a better strike rate, but similarly none of the regular bowlers was more expensive than his 3.7 runs an over in the Championship. He has all the raw materials to be a very, very good bowler and I hope he’s given plenty of chances to develop next season. There was a time when I thought he might turn into a genuine allrounder but his batting this season has regressed to such a degree that he’s been coming in below Tremlett and not far off Dernbach either. His bowling is the priority, but the batting talent could do with being nurtured too. Verdict: Needs work on the consistency, but all the essentials are there 7/10

The Others: Steven Cheetham’s signing on loan was an odd one. Ostensibly as cover for injuries but on occasion he played ahead of a fit Linley and Meaker. He did ok when he played, but only ok and he was released back to Lancs soon enough. Tom Jewell played just once against Northants, returning 1-74, the jury remains out on him with both bat and ball. Zafar Ansari also played just once, against Sussex in the CB40 but delivered a composed performance with the ball, I’d like to see a lot more of him next season. Matt Dunn didn’t play at all in the first team, but he looks a very exciting prospect.

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