Thursday, 26 January 2012

Return of the Nannes

Surrey have confirmed that Australian fast-bowler and global Twenty20 mercenary, Dirk Nannes, will be returning to the club for the 2012 Twenty20 Cup. Nannes had a successful 2011 campaign, playing every game and picking up 19 wickets at 20 runs apiece along the way.

News of his return is a boon, its good to have certainty around our overseas contingent for the tournament due to start in June, and his pedigree is unquestioned. He will turn out alongside Murali Kartik, putting to bed any suspicion that a third overseas player would be signed purely for the T20.

I wonder whether there is a danger of us being a batter or two light, not just for the Twenty20 in fact, but in general for 2012. Chris Schofield's absence from the squad may be felt more keenly than anticipated should one or two of our big hitting batsmen have a complete loss of form. We may even look back fondly on Yasir Arafat's lower order biffing if the worst came to the worst.

It undoubtedly gives us a very strong looking bowling lineup, if everyone is fit and available, to be able to pick from Nannes, Kartik, Tremlett, Dernbach, Linley, Meaker, Dunn and Lewis will be a nice conundrum for Adams to have. But assuming there is no Kevin Pietersen, and there's no reason to suspect there will be, beyond a top six including Roy, Davies, Maynard, Hamilton-Brown, de Bruyn there isn't a huge surplus of pure batsmen in the squad. Sprigel's flashes of brilliance in 2011 may be called upon more often and in more formats for the coming season. Gary Wilson too may be drafted in.

Interestingly, Chris Adams' latest interview on the Surrey website suggests that we are pursuing an overseas player in Murali Kartik's stead while the Indian will be playing in the IPL. He says that they won't sign someone "for the sake of signing", but if someone of sufficient quality is not picked up in the February 4th IPL auction they may dip into the market - so keep an eye on that one. They could do worse than explore the possibility of signing a batsman, given the strength we have in fast bowling and the early-season conditions. Although perhaps unlikely, with Dernbach, Maynard and Roy on the preliminary list for the IPL, Adams could have more gaps to fill!

With February almost upon us, and friendlies due to start in March (yes, March), cricket is just around the corner again and Adams will want to have as many of his ducks in a row as possible. Members of the squad who disappeared on various overseas crusades this winter haven't had the best of times by and large, here's hoping they're getting their iffy form out of the way before the English season gets started!