Monday, 11 April 2011

Confused of Surrey: Adams selections have me scratching my head

Adams' selection of Chris Schofield for the Northants game, presumably with the blessing of Rory Hamilton-Brown continues to rankle. This is in no way meant as a criticism of Schofield who over the last few seasons has put in a lot of hard yards for Surrey and has rescued us on a few occasions, it is just an expression of confusion over his role in the side.

Jason Roy played every pre-season game and seemed to have the number three slot in his pocket. While I thought he was probably best suited to the middle order, I was pleased that Adams was showing considerable faith in a clearly enormously talented batsman. However on the morning of the first County Championship match of the season we learn he'd been dropped from the team completely, Zander de Bruyn slotted in to number three and Chris Schofield squeezes in to the middle order.

Perhaps the forecast of four days of blazing sunshine persuaded Adams that two spinners was the best 'horses for courses' policy but Schofield was barely used in our first innings. Schofield is no Shane Warne but he needs more than a two over spell to find a rhythm, surely? And even when he was given plenty of overs today he only returned two wickets (in fact he was arguably out-bowled by part-timer Rob White for Northants), he's realistically a second spinner, he'd be an ideal foil working in tandem with a frontline spinner - much like Gareth Batty in that respect. Adams did a similar thing in selecting Schofield and Batty for a game at Hove in April last year, they only took two wickets between them.

And if it was last minute jitters Adams was having about Roy at number three, OK, but why drop him completely, why not just push de Bruyn up to three anyway and keep Roy in the middle? I appreciate that Schofield added some quick runs before lunch today but Roy could've fulfilled that role as well and would probably have added more across both innings. You could argue that only a spinner was likely to effect a victory for Surrey today and Roy doesn't bring that, but if Northants were faced with considerably more than the total of 322 we posted when they were 163-7 in their first innings would they have rallied quite as consummately as they did? We'll never know of course, but I think you get the point.

But more than anything else Jason Roy is a phenomenally talented batsman who is going to be a big part of Surrey's future, and you never know maybe England's too. He needs to find his way in four day matches, he won't do this carrying the drinks (actually I don't think he's even been doing that in this game!). Having blooded him in the top order at the back end of last season and in the 2011 pre-season I believe Adams should've stuck with him. When Ramprakash returns Roy can slip down the order and will hopefully be all the better for the experience.

All of this is not to say I think Adams is consistently wrong on selection, a lot of the time I think he's broadly right but in Jason Roy we have such an exceptional asset, one that is only going to improve by playing consistently at the highest level possible.


Tim V said...

An interesting post, as ever. I agree with your comments on Roy. Chris Adams might make the point that without Schoey's economy yesterday Northants would have been a lot more inclined to push on for the victory.

The declaration was excellent. The only way we can get promoted is if we win games and whilst we didn't yesterday it was good practice for later in the season when we do.

GreenJJ said...

Morning Tim

I take your point about Schoey's economy, that is true. I suppose the crux of my argument is that Adams has made such a thing out of building a team for the future, and with the greatest of respect to Schofield, he isn't going to be a big part of that realistically, certainly not as big a part as Roy in any case!

Really pleased to see positive captaincy from RHB, I thought he'd go cautious, being the first game and all, but credit to him for not doing that.

Chappers said...

Cracking coverage of the game Josh.

As for the selection - I think it was done with the best intention of winning the game (ie playing 2 spinners) but if it damages Jason Roy's confidence it will have been lasting damage.

What we do know is that we have, in Zander De B a decent number 3 in Ramps' absence and that should allow Roy to come in at 6 and settle into the side.

It is a shame that R H-B doesn't have the time to work on his bowling to make it a second spinner option - but you can't do everything.

Apparently the Count bowled well too - just a shame we couldn't force a win...

either way the side looks better than last yeras and better than the season before so there is hope. Promotion will be a very big ask though, in my view :(

GreenJJ said...

Hi Chappers

Thanks very much!

I am sure you're right, and maybe I'm being too harsh on Adams, I don't intend to say he's doing anything intentionally wrong, but I was just confused by it, and also there is rarely any communication about selection, I may have missed something but I don't think anyone ever came out and rationalised the selection.

Agree on RHB's bowling, but like you say, there's only so many hours in the day. I wonder if Spriegel might've been an interesting prospect on that pitch? I suppose he wouldn't have offered that attacking batting that Schoey provided though.

Linley was really good on Saturday morning, probably the best I've seen him bowl and on an unhelpful pitch too. Meaker was quick enough to trouble them all, he was a bit wayward at times but generally good.

The side does look much better, and I hope it continues to gel. Promotion will be tough because four day cricket require such a high level of consistent quality which is hard with such an inexperienced side. They are so talented, but there's not much experience to fall back on. I don't think we should expect too much this year, just a higher level of performance than last - that was in evidence (mostly) over the four days vs Northants (the fielding was generally excellent).

Tim V said...

With Jason Roy playing in the 3-day 2nd XI game starting tomorrow I assume he's not in Adams' mind for this week's game in Cardiff. Unless he scores a double ton tomorrow!

GreenJJ said...

Hi Tim

Good spot, as you say he'll probably have to do something exceptional to get called away. Schofield not in the 2nds squad so he's obviously still in Adams' thoughts. Not too many wickets went down to spinners at Cardiff this weekend!