The 12 men who will contest Surrey's final pre-season game against Leeds-Bradford MCCU have been named and interestingly a couple of key players have been rested.
The 12 man squad, and a possible XI, is as follows:
12th man: Freddie van den Bergh
Jon Lewis and Jade Dernbach have been rested because, presumably, they are already on the teamsheet for the opening game against Sussex. The key position to watch out for is who comes out to open the batting - Chris Adams confirmed at the AGM that Hamilton-Brown will return to his favoured middle order this season which leaves the position of Rudolph's partner vacant. Given that Spriegel will likely lose his place to Gareth Batty, Jordan was tried in that position this week and found wanting and Wilson will probably play instead of Burns against Sussex, that leaves only two likely openers - Wilson himself and Jason Roy.
Roy is of course more comfortable in the middle order in Championship cricket and will probably return there once Davies is home from Sri Lanka. Wilson was tested as opener in the first three fixtures of last season, averaging 22 and without a 50, but only one of those innings was a complete failure - a 10 ball duck at Lord's. Who gets the job is very much up in the air, but I think Adams might go for Roy again.
The other interesting battle to watch will be who of Meaker and Linley comes off best. Or whether the pair of them are outshone by young Matt Dunn who Adams could pick to play his first game of this pre-season. Although van den Bergh performed well against Somerset, he will have to go back to university soon I think so Dunn would be a more sensible choice. Meaker and Linley are probably in a shoot-out for the final seam bowling spot in the team and I don't envy Adams in having to make the decision between the two.
As for the opposition, this will be their debut as a first class cricket side but they do have previous at the Oval having beaten us there in 2005. And of course Surrey's most recent university game ended in an embarrassing defeat to Cambridge last May. Only one of their side has first class experience but they won't want to be hammered and shouldn't be taken lightly.
The batsmen, particularly Maynard, Roy and Hamilton-Brown, should look at this as a key opportunity to face a lot of balls and bag a lot of runs. The bowlers simply need to continue the good work they've been doing already. Just a few more days to go now!
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