Firstly, welcome to Surrey Tom Maynard, Glamorgan's loss is Surrey's considerable gain and I am sure he's got a big future at the Oval. I saw him bat three times last year, once in the TV game at Cardiff when he scored a very impressive 64 at more or less a run a ball, then at the Oval when he went for 19 in the pursuit of Surrey's world record score. But the third innings was the pick, in a particularly galling defeat at the Oval Maynard's 78 from 43 balls was the difference between the sides, he was calculating yet powerful, more of the same please Tom.
I can't really see that any more new faces will come in, except perhaps an overseas player for the non-Twenty20 games (Shakib al-Hasan please). We have a squad which is undoubtedly short of experience, especially with Ramprakash missing for the start of the season, but at the same time it is long on promise, which is cause for genuine optimism. 2011 will be another year of ups and downs, but I can see the makings of a very talented unit, particularly in the limited overs games.
A Championship batting order comprising Brown, Hamilton-Brown, Maynard, Roy, De Bruyn, Davies and Wilson looks good on paper, but I'm not entirely sure where everyone fits. In Hamilton-Brown, De Bruyn, Davies, Wilson and Maynard we appear to have five number fives, and no number threes while Ramps remains on the sidelines. I would go for Roy and Brown as an opening pair but the former is probably more comfortable in the middle order for now. Lancefield, Spriegel and Harinath lurk in the background should anyone fall short. Oh and there's Pietersen on the payroll as well.
Someone will have to step up and occupy that number three slot, and I'd like that someone to be the captain. OK, his defensive game only appeared very occasionally (to put it mildly - did it appear at all?) in 2010, but it was the one place in the order he didn't bat last season and I would like to see him take on that responsibility.
The bowling unit has been boosted by the return of Chris Jordan, who gives the side batting depth as well. Equally though it will likely be weakened by the departure of Tremlett for large chunks of the season. Meaker, Dernbach and Jordan will be expected to make early inroads but the persistent absence of a frontline spinner leaves us exposed, unless of course Simon King can make a sudden breakthrough after a poor 2010. And what of Andre Nel amongst all this? Who knows. Matt Dunn and Tim Linley will provide able backup in the seam bowling department.
The likes of Tom Jewell, Chris Schofield and Zafar Ansari will make occasional appearances but I am interested in particular in the progress of Ansari who will be a key player for us in a few years I think.
So Surrey County Cricket Club's 2011 vintage could well be a story of flashes of genius ultimately ending in another middling season, or if three or four players (ideally Roy, Hamilton-Brown, Maynard and Meaker) can make 2011 a breakthrough year, and the rest continue to steadily develop we could spring some real surprises. I for one hope it is the latter!
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