Saturday, 30 April 2011

Squad for CB40 double header revealed

Surrey have released the 14 man squad, a combination of whom will play the CB40 games on Sunday against Scotland and Hampshire on Monday. After the crushing defeat at Lord's Adams and Hamilton-Brown will want a big win against Scotland and a good performance against Hampshire to get some positivity back in the dressing room. There are a couple of surprising inclusions and one notable exclusion.

The 14 men includes Gareth Batty who is rested for the game against Scotland and presumably will definitely play at the Rose Bowl. The squad with my expected XI for Sunday is as follows:

Rory Hamilton-Brown
Steven Davies
Jason Roy
Zander de Bruyn
Tom Maynard
Gary Wilson
Chris Schofield
Matthew Spriegel
Yasir Arafat
Jade Dernbach
Matthew Dunn

12th men: Tom Jewell, Tim Linley, Gareth Batty

The opening pair picks itself after some spectacular shows of hitting in 2010, here's hoping they can replicate that. As I said in my CB40 preview (which if you missed it can be found here) our innings tended to rely on their spectacular starts, hopefully the addition of some steel to the middle order in the shape of Zander de Bruyn will go some way to remedying that. Tom Maynard in there also adds significant power. Jason Roy (who can hopefully kick-start his first XI season tomorrow) and Gary Wilson will likely complete a hugely powerful top six. Michael Brown is an interesting exclusion, he has always made noises about wanting to play all formats for Surrey, but he has looked in dreadful form in the opening games so maybe he'll go away and get his game right.

Chris Schofield and Matthew Spriegel at numbers 7 and 8, along with Arafat at 9 complete a lengthy batting lineup. I am pleased to see Spriegel in the side and I hope he is in there to bowl his full quota of 8 overs in both games unless he has a nightmare against Scotland. I've always thought his bowling is underrated, sometimes he can go round the park but his spin is, by and large, reliable and threatening. Though he wasn't impressive in the CB40 last season his bowling form in the Seconds this year has been good, including four wickets against Essex not long ago.

I hope Arafat can use these games to really get his bowling going. We all know the threat Dernbach poses, even if he was poor at Lord's and I would be really interested to see how Matthew Dunn gets on, the England Under-19 quick is a really promising player. Though if Adams wants to make the batting really strong Tom Jewell, who looked consistent and intelligent (though not very rapid) in the Second XI game I saw a couple of weeks ago, may come in instead. On the flip side he may elect to play a fourth seamer in the shape of Tim Linley, especially for the Scotland game, but I'd be surprised if he did. De Bruyn and Hamilton-Brown give plenty of options should one of the frontline bowlers get collared, though I wouldn't want the captain bowling too many overs given what we've seen from him so far this season!

I think the side above gives a good blend of batting power and bowling potency, though again a lot will rest on the form of the senior seamers Arafat and Dernbach. We made a great start to the CB40 last year and with all due respect to Scotland they have a great chance to do so again. Players like Luke Butterworth and Majid Haq should not be underestimated but we ought to be looking at beating them. A real beating would help to set aside memories of Lord's but similarly anything other than a comfortable win will heap further pressure on Adams and RHB. Here's to a good performance first up and certainly two points, hopefully four points, on the board.

UPDATE: Luke Butterworth is injured, broken toe apparently, as helpfully pointed out by the ever-vigilant @lynnbashforth

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