Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Season Review: The batsmen

The season drew spectacularly to a close last week, and while the Champions League Twenty20 rumbles on pointlessly (from a Surrey fan's perspective) in India, now seems like a good time to take a look back on 2011. Starting with the batsmen.

Rory Hamilton-Brown
LVCC: 1039 runs @ 37, CB40: 372 runs @ 28, T20: 232 runs @ 17

On the face of it, those numbers don't add up to a terribly productive season for Surrey's young captain. However, in his second full year in the role, RHB appeared to grow into it somewhat. He's still not prone to inspired decisions too often (though his rotation of the bowlers in the CB40 was very good - not just in the final), and he is not considerate enough when it comes to using our younger bowlers, but boy did he do a good job this year. His Championship return, while playing well out of position almost all season long, is impressive and 200 runs better than last year.  Though he does have a habit of getting out once set, in the Championship alone he was out between 20 and 47 fourteen times in all.  In both the CB40 and T20 he was below par across the year and yet Surrey as a unit still performed well generally in the limited overs - very well indeed in the case of the CB40. A year older and a year wiser, he will return next year stronger than ever. Of more importance than perhaps anything else, the players want to play for him and they seem a very tightly-knit unit.  He might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I for one hope he remains at the helm for the foreseeable future.

Steven Davies
LVCC: 1035 runs @ 39, CB40: 395 runs @ 30, T20: 365 runs @ 33

Davies' Championship form seemed to track the fortunes of the team, insofar as he came good at precisely the right time. In his last eight innings he helped himself to two hundreds and two fifties as Surrey surged into division one. Like Hamilton-Brown he prefers the middle order to the openers slot in four day cricket but his form at the back end of the season might just persuade him to keep at it. Also like Hamilton-Brown he was below par in the CB40 - that's as compared to 2010 where he scored 485 runs at an average of 60. In the T20 though he was often spectacular, never more so than during his 99 not out against Sussex and he finished the competition with a strike rate above 150. He has curiously been ignored by England who have a glut of power hitting wicketkeeper-batsmen to pick from, while this is disappointing for Davies personally, from a purely selfish point of view I'm happy to see him turning out for us a lot.

Mark Ramprakash
LVCC: 700 runs @ 33

Returning from serious knee surgery, 2011 was never going to be the easiest of Ramprakash's many as a professional cricketer. I though he would be unlikely to appear much before July but incredibly it was barely May when he first turned out for the club. Throughout the season he never looked fully fit and will appreciate the winter break to get back to his very best - a back injury created some technical problems this year, probably contributing to his being dismissed bowled or lbw 13 times out of 23 dismissals (by way of comparison, he was dismissed that way only four times in 2010). He will likely never get back to his peak but even so he still warrants a place in our batting lineup. He deserves the chance to go out at the very top level - and he'll be relieved not to have to face up to the Tiflex ball next season.

Zander de Bruyn
LVCC: 1383 runs @ 55 & 15 wkts @ 39, CB40: 328 runs @ 32 & 7 wkts @ 26, T20: 275 runs @ 34 & 6 wkts @ 24

Whether he was filling in for Ramprakash at number three or batting in his more customary number four slot Zander de Bruyn hardly stopped scoring runs in 2011. Like Davies he stood up to be counted during those crucial last four games with two fifties and two hundreds. His 13 scores of fifty and above was not bettered by anyone in the country this season, in either division and he never went more than three innings without notching a fifty. I can't escape the nagging feeling that without him, we'd have been up a creek without a paddle. In the CB40 he was less impressive though his useful medium pacers were called upon frequently, in the T20 he wasn't spectacular (particularly in that bizarre innings against Kent) but he was a reassuring presence in the middle order nonetheless. It came as a huge relief when he signed an extension to his contract, he's been warmly welcomed by the Surrey faithful and I can't wait to watch him bat, and bat, and bat in 2012.

Tom Maynard
LVCC: 1022 runs @ 40, CB40: 481 runs @ 40, T20: 392 runs @ 43

Maynard: Special
The only one of Surrey's front line batsmen to average over 40 in all formats, it turns out Adams' "opportunistic" recruitment of him over the winter was pretty crucial to Surrey's 2011 season. That was never more apparent than when he was compiling a vitally important hundred against Derbyshire in the final game of the season. He came to the wicket at 132-3, by the time he'd departed we were only 18 short of that important fifth batting bonus point. That was his one and only hundred from the number five spot, his other two and all his fifties came from number six. That hundred also ended a run of nine innings without a fifty, it was a mighty fine time to break that sequence. His runs in the CB40, in which he scored five fifties were equally important to our cause and in the T20 he was, along with Davies, a cut above the rest.

Jason Roy
LVCC: 623 runs @ 29, CB40: 585 runs @ 45, T20: 363 runs @ 27

Roy: Also special
The 2011 season from Jason Roy was a bit of a curate's egg. Absolutely peerless in the CB40 where he recorded consecutive hundreds on his way to topping the Surrey runscorers chart - over 100 more runs than anyone else. However his returns in the Championship and the T20 were less than we've come to expect - which is possibly harsh on such a young man but merely a mark of the high regard in which he is held. To my mind there are few more talented batsmen of his age in England. His hitting in the 'v' is exceptional and his CB40 hundreds, particularly the one against Warwickshire, showed he is capable of playing a very mature innings. I think he was probably batted a bit low in the Championship, while he averaged 35 as an opener that became 27 from the number six slot. His ground fielding and catching remain excellent and it is clear for all to see that he loves batting for Surrey. He will doubtless go away in the winter and work on his batting for the longer format, his innings of 45 from 64 balls against Gloucestershire and 46 from 72 balls against Leicestershire showed that he is capable of innings that are less frenetic than his early season efforts suggest. There is so much more to come from Roy that it's almost frightening.

The Others

I was sad to see Michael Brown call time on his career, the injury that befell him last season had obviously caused more serious issues than first thought. I had hoped that his second innings knock of 46 against Northants way back in April would signal a return to form, but it was not to be. Gary Wilson also had a wretched season in which he scored only 121 runs in all formats. Having ended the season in 2010 so well he'll be hugely disappointed not to have continued that, but his runs of late for Ireland suggest that all is not lost, he will be back.  Oh, and Kevin Pietersen, he batted for us, a bit.


Anonymous said...

anyone know what Steve Davies is doing this winter? Since he is not needed by England I hope he has found some good work over the winter in a good cricketing place

GreenJJ said...

I think it's bizarre that Davies seems to have been cast aside by England, totally undeserved. He was poor in the Championship early season but in the limited overs stuff he was pretty good. Certainly doesn't deserve to be behind the plethora of wk/bats England have now.