Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Adams sticks to his guns for Worcestershire match

Chris Adams has gamely refused to bow to the pressure created by a dispiriting defeat to Middlesex, naming the set of players who travelled to the Home of Cricket last week. Jacques Rudolph was a late withdrawal due to family reasons. It is of course right that he is given the time and space to deal with the personal issues affecting him.

The squad and possible XI is as follows:

Rory Hamilton-Brown
Steven Davies
Mark Ramprakash
Zander de Bruyn
Tom Maynard
Jason Roy
Chris Jordan
Gareth Batty
Jon Lewis
Stuart Meaker
Jade Dernbach

12th man: Tim Linley

I think Adams is right to resist major changes, Hamilton-Brown and Lewis aside no one really impressed at Lord's but it was a very tricky pitch, the likes of which we probably won't encounter again this season. The absence of Rudolph does though mean that the issue of who will open rears its ugly head again. Chris Jordan was the man tasked with the job in the game against Sussex and while he didn't fail completely, he certainly didn't look at ease in that position. Adams may want to stick by his man, but I would personally prefer Hamilton-Brown or de Bruyn is given the job temporarily.

The only question mark remaining is which of Tim Linley or Stuart Meaker gets the nod. There was no indication that Meaker's omission from the Lord's game was injury related so he should be ready and raring to go. Once into his stride Linley didn't bowl badly in the first innings and was barely needed in the second, but there's that niggling feeling that a fired up Meaker might have dealt with the Sussex tail better last week. Meaker also offers more with the bat.

Adams could elect to omit an allrounder and play Meaker and Linley. I think this unlikely, the tail is already too long with Jordan at seven, he or Batty any higher in the order than they currently are would not be a good idea. While the pair didn't have the best game at Lord's, Batty got good turn at the Oval vs Sussex and is needed to keep the over rate down - this cost us a penalty point against Middlesex.

Jason Roy should get his chance and will hopefully seize it with both hands. His last couple of Second XI innings have produced runs but not in huge number. A haul of runs might have a knock-on effect on Mark Ramprakash. The rumblings about Ramps have been ongoing for some time and an impressive game from Roy will probably amplify these.

Worcestershire are a dangerous side. In their only Championship game this season they shot out a strong Nottinghamshire side for 118, before Notts turned it around in their second innings. The usual suspects will pose a challenge for Surrey, the likes of Moeen, Solanki, Klinger and Kervezee in the batting and newly crowned Cricketer of the Year Alan Richardson spearheading the bowling.

The team spirit of this side is readily acknowledged so while the loss to Middlesex will have hurt, they won't dwell on it. They will expect to beat Worcestershire but won't take it as a given. The weather might stand in their way though, the forecast is for consistent rain over the next few days so it could be a fight over first innings bonus points.

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