Sunday, 11 September 2011

Same squad named for final promotion push

On the back of three wins Chris Adams would be well advised to stick with a winning formula, and for the Derbyshire game starting at the Oval tomorrow he has done just that.

The same twelve brave men have been named as those which defeated Essex, and barring injuries late in the day, the XI will be the same too:

De Bruyn

12th man: Edwards

Of the top six batsmen Hamilton-Brown, Ramprakash, Roy and Maynard are all without big runs in recent weeks as Davies and de Bruyn have shouldered much of the burden. Given that we should be looking at full bonus points for our batting I think there is an argument for tweaking the batting order. I would like to see de Bruyn bumped up to the number three slot, where he scored a hundred and a fifty in five innings earlier in the season, with Ramprakash moving down to number four. I also think Maynard and Roy could switch places at five and six in the order. Earlier in the season Maynard recorded three fifties and two hundreds batting at number six and is to my mind a slightly better option to bat with the tail. These are of course just minor changes but I would certainly be considering them if I was Adams.

Despite Dernbach being dropped for the fourth ODI at Lord's today there was never any likelihood that he would be released to take up his place in our bowling attack. And in any case there is case for debate as to whether he'd get into the Championship side as it stands! Meaker, Linley and Ojha have taken hatfulls of wickets in recent weeks (32 between them in the last two games in fact) but it is the second innings return to form of Chris Jordan against Essex which was particularly pleasing.

Derbyshire have been something of a surprise package this season. They have a young and inexperienced side but one which has recorded five wins in the Championship. Their recent form has been a mixed bag though with a win, a draw and a defeat in their last three games. Wes Durston has been the key to their batting this season but Rob Whiteley, with a hundred against Kent last week, is also in good form. In Groenewald, Clare and Palladino they have three bowlers with almost 150 Championship wickets between them but they don't have a great deal in the spin department.

To keep it simple, we need a win with maximum bonus points to give ourselves the best hope of promotion - and as decent a side as Derbyshire are, on form and on paper we should be looking at beating them. The weather forecast is looking pretty friendly at the moment, as it is for Northampton who themselves can secure promotion with a win-plus-bonus - regardless of what we do. All the players can do is forget about what Northants are up to and focus on their own game. They are on the mother of all rolls at the moment and Derbyshire have nothing to play for, a win this week would cap a remarkable turnaround in the final month of the season.

Whatever happens I am sure there will be no lack of commitment on the part of our players, promotion would be a fine reward for a season which will have taken a lot out of them - mentally and physically. Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more!


miltonkeynesman said...

Exciting times in Div 1 & 2. Weather looks ok, particularly after tomorrow. Having got themselves into a great position, all Surrey can do is enjoy the moment and do their best. Both Northants and Gloucester will feel the need to set out to win their game (which I dont think Northants have done in their last two matches). So Surrey have to assume they will need to win and it might take nearly four days, but hey, that's where you should start from in any game. Be fascinating what sort of wicket The Oval serves up. A few years ago Northants would have produced a real turner at this end of the season, but perhaps not now.

Two other thoughts. It would be great for Ramprakash to put on a big innings and secondly I wonder what Jon Lewis is feeling ? I suspect he will be trying his hardest for Glos.

Good luck to them all. Other commitments mean I'm relying on CricInfo and Mr Church. Hope his voice holds out.

GreenJJ said...

I was wondering that about the pitch too, Derbyshire aren't too hot in the spinning department so they might put all their eggs in the Ojha basket, but with Linley and Meaker in such good form maybe a bit of grass on top is best? What we need is a nice firm surface, win the toss, bat for two days and have the surface break up for days three and four, too much to ask?!

I'd love a big hundred for Ramps, he's due one! As for Lewis, a poor game for him could keep us in division two but then a really good game for him could send Gloucestershire up and still keep us in division two. I think he should just focus on his job, like you say.

Similarly I've got a pesky job to go to so will only be able to follow now and then, it will be hard to concentrate!

Tim V said...

Exciting times indeed. All the more so because it's so unexpected.

As an aside, I can't believe the England selectors thought they could win yesterday without a single Surrey player in the team!

GreenJJ said...

Hi Tim

Exactly, it's a pleasant surprise to be in this position, and without wanting to jeopardise anything, it seems to be going ok at the moment.

And shocking form from England, that'll teach them. In seriousness though, a specialist death bowler would've been useful for England yesterday!

David Jennings said...

Several interesting points here, and I agree with most of them. Is it the toughness of batting at 10.30 in September and/or the tiflex ball that's responsible for Ramps' repeated failures? Would he do better at 4? What if de Bruyn got a nasty one early doors at 3, when we've been relying on him so much? (admittedly he was in 3 minutes after Ramps today, so not much difference)

The question mark for me in the current 11 is Batty's role in the team. He's bowled 6 overs total in the last two games, none at all in the last one. Is he a specialist batsman at No 7? Or is he in the team for his bonhomie at 1st slip and in the changing room?

GreenJJ said...

Hi David

It's a fair question, it is just tinkering with the order, maybe I'm just trying to avoid comprehending the fact that it's something more serious with Ramps. I'm still clinging to it being a dip in form, and for sure he doesn't like the Tiflex ball. I hope he sticks at it, the great man deserves to spend his last season in Division One - we owe it to him (and then some!).

Great shout on Batty, I hadn't even really considered it but he has been bowling less and less since Ojha arrived. There was talk of a shoulder niggle a while back, I wonder if that's it? I suspect if there was not so much riding on this game one of the batting youngsters might have been given a go, but they like Batty's experience and, as you say, his 'bonhomie' in the circumstances.