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.
The Steve Smith infographic
1 day ago