Tuesday, 8 May 2012

We need to talk about Kevin

The return of the prodigal son. Well, he's not really prodigal, and he's not a son of Surrey, but he is returning. Kevin Pietersen is in Chris Adams' 13 man squad for the game against Worcestershire this week. I've a sneaking suspicion he might make it into the side as well.

If it feels like we only just played Worcestershire, that's because we have only just played them. In fact the last session of First Class cricket Surrey played was against their opposition this week, what with the washout against Durham.

The 13 man squad and possible XI is as follows:

Jacques Rudolph
Steven Davies
Mark Ramprakash
Kevin Pietersen
Zander de Bruyn
Rory Hamilton-Brown
Tom Maynard
Gareth Batty
Jon Lewis
Tim Linley
George Edwards

12th men: Chris Jordan, Jason Roy

Allowing room for an England player such as Pietersen is always a contentious issue, all the more so when he edges out a player such as Jason Roy. I think it unlikely that Adams will leave out Ramprakash, despite his wretched form this season, likewise de Bruyn who offers a viable bowling option. Rudolph, Davies, Maynard and especially Hamilton-Brown have done little to suggest they should be for the chop so Roy is probably the most vulnerable. For the record, as it is a one-off game for KP, I would probably bench Ramprakash for this game.

It'd be too easy to whinge about Pietersen being shoe-horned into the side at the behest of the ECB. That's our lot, he's England's best batsman and he needs a game to acclimatise himself to English conditions. There's no question that his presence in the side is a good thing, to my mind, and the last time he played for us he scored a run-a-ball 58 in a partnership of 118 in 18 overs with Hamilton-Brown. He is pure class.

An unfamiliar name in the squad is that of George Edwards who would be in line to make his Championship debut if selected. He has a solitary first class appearance to his name, for Surrey against Cambridgeshire (so he's played with Pietersen before!) last year in which he didn't take a wicket and went for 82 runs. Not stellar credentials you might think, but there's more to it than that. He's a tall, wiry bloke capable of propelling the ball down pretty rapidly. I don't know if he's ever been clocked but when I saw him for the Second XI last year he was very sharp, if a little wayward. He took nine wickets for the Seconds last week, so he's in good form.

Whether he plays or not will come down to whether Adams plays it (relatively) safe with Jordan, the known quantity, or takes a gamble on Edwards. I'd go for the latter, Pietersen in the top order and potentially having Maynard at 7 makes for a very strong batting lineup. The insurance of Jordan's batting isn't needed and Edwards deserves a break.  Meaker and Dernbach are of course absent on Lions duty, so Lewis and Linley will have plenty of bowling to do.

The weather forecast, for the first two days at least, isn't dissimilar to that for the Durham game so a result might be asking a bit much. The conditions for Friday and Saturday look somewhat better though so a couple of days play is a definite possibility.

Worcestershire are a good side, that much we know from their fighting performance at the Oval, but they've not had the best time of it since then. They were second best in a rain affected match against Nottinghamshire and lost heavily to Middlesex in another rain affected game last week (though that was largely down to a very enterprising declaration). Alan Richardson continued to take wickets, he recorded 5-89 in Middlesex's first innings, but their batsmen have made heavy weather of the early season period.

You have to fear the weather will have the final say in this game as well which is hugely disappointing. If they do manage to get out for a good period of time, we have a good chance of beating Worcestershire. Without Meaker and Dernbach we may struggle for penetration, but Tim Linley is an able deputy and George Edwards is an unknown quantity for the opposition. Rain or no rain, the players will be looking to kick start the second month of the season with some quality performances.


Murdoch MacDonald said...

Many thanks for that, as always.

GreenJJ said...

A pleasure Murdoch.

David Humphrey said...

Agreed that I can't see Ramps carrying any drinks, but how about keeping Roy and swapping ZDB for KP? Both class batsmen who can bowl a few overs if needed.

GreenJJ said...

Fair point David, I hadn't thought of KP's bowling. Not sure how much use his spin would be at a damp New Road, but like you say, only if needed. I think Adams will prefer to have that extra seam option, though if he fits Jordan in as well as the three seamers, then maybe de Bruyn is vulnerable after all.

Paul said...

Playing KP is a no brainer for both Surrey and England, both should benefit this week....weather permitting.

GreenJJ said...

I agree, he's a wonderful player and our batsmen aren't in the best nick! I do fear we won't actually see much of him, or anyone, over the course of the next four days though.

David Jennings said...

Glad to see Gris is reading your blog and taking your advice on the team ;-)

GreenJJ said...

Haha! Thanks David, seems I have a direct line to Adams. A bit surprised to be honest, he always seems to want extra insurance on the bowling front but has gone a different route today. Doesn't look like it'll matter much, rain already interrupting.