Chris Adams has picked 13 players for the trek up to North London for the game against Middlesex starting tomorrow, there is only one change from last week, Jason Roy disappears altogether and Chris Jordan replaces him.
The 13 is as follows, with my expected XI:
12th men: Batty/Schofield, Jordan
We have struggled to make breakthroughs in the first two games, this is partly down to the dead pitches and partly because Arafat has been a bit of a passenger so far. Therefore I think Adams should abandon thoughts of fielding the same XI again and drop an allrounder in favour of a frontline seamer, Tim Linley to be precise. Whether Meaker plays or not given his absence from much of the final day of the Glamorgan game remains to be seen, but given his form, if he's fit, he has to play.
Dropping one of Schofield or Batty could be seen as harsh, given Schofield's 99 in Cardiff and Batty's all round good form. If I had to choose I'd say Schofield has to step aside, and I realise this is starting to appear as a personal vendetta against Schofield, it isn't! I just think you have to pick the bowling attack most likely to take 20 wickets at Lord's, and a twin-spin approach just doesn't make much sense. Sticking with Arafat might also seem foolhardy given a return of precisely zero wickets from two games, but I think Lord's will suit him more, and the conditions might also be more conducive to his swing bowling.
Of course if you wanted to replace Schofield's runs you might pick Jordan instead, who has been in great form with the bat for the Second XI and when I saw him bowling last week he looked sharp enough but I think Linley is a more incisive bet. If Meaker does not recover in time there will be space for Jordan anyway. Ultimately our top six are in good nick broadly speaking and Batty, Arafat and Meaker ought to be able to hang about enough to put a substantial score on the board, but it is a gamble.
Middlesex have started the season in fine form with wins against Essex and Derbyshire, the former a bit of a drubbing. Their strength lies in their seam attack, so strong in fact that last season's find Toby Roland-Jones (once of Surrey Second XI no less!) has been left on the sidelines. Finn, Murtagh, Collymore and Gareth Berg have been very effective so far, they might fancy finding a place for Roland-Jones given how well he bowled against us last season. Their middle order batting has been a bit brittle, but again Berg and Rayner have shored it up somewhat. They will be mighty tough to beat.
We need to get a win on the board and Lord's would be a lovely place to do it. For that reason I think Adams needs to gamble with possibly losing some runs from an allrounder and pick a more likely wicket-taker.
The Steve Smith infographic
1 day ago