Monday, 2 July 2012

Rain threatens Hampshire return

Surrey have an immediate chance to avenge the seven wicket thrashing doled out by Hampshire on Saturday as they visit the Oval this evening. As on so many occasions this season though, it looks like the weather might get the better of them.

Chris Adams has named 12 players to pick from for the game tonight, the squad and possible XI is as follows:

Steven Davies
Jason Roy
Kevin Pietersen
Zander de Bruyn
Rory Burns
Matthew Spriegel
Zafar Ansari
Gareth Batty
Murali Kartik
Dirk Nannes
Chris Tremlett

12th man: Stuart Meaker

Rory Hamilton-Brown has been given a bit more space to recover. He looked all at sea on Saturday and I really felt for him. He'll rightly walk back in to our side whenever he feels he's ready to do so. Gary Wilson is also missing as he disappears on Ireland duty again, his loss is felt keenly thanks to a top order lacking in any sort of form. The addition of Kevin Pietersen to the lineup is a massive bonus and hopefully Roy and Davies, likely to bat ahead of him, will feed off his presence in the side.

The absence of Wilson and Hamilton-Brown creates two spaces in the side, one of which will be filled by Pietersen and the other by either de Bruyn or Burns. Rory Burns simply has to play, he's in super form for the Second XI and I am of the view that you back your younger players in big games. As it happens, I think de Bruyn should play as well at the expense of a seamer. It is a very tough call between Nannes and Meaker. Nannes has not performed to expectations this season but looked more his old self against Hampshire. Meaker's one over was dreadful, but bowling in the face of a very small total is not his best suit, and may perform better in familiar surroundings. If push came to shove, I think Nannes might get the nod and be given a chance to rediscover his 2011 form.

The batting still looks a bit shaky but on his day Kevin Pietersen can plug almost any gap. If he hits the ground running in his return to cricket, no Hampshire bowler will be spared. For what its worth I'd consider pushing Roy down the order and promoting one of Burns, Spriegel or de Bruyn. If they could anchor, Roy will be free to do what he does best and free his arms later in the innings. Adams will back his very strong bowling attack to defend anything above 140, maybe even a touch less as has been seen earlier in the season.

The forecast though suggests we might not get much cricket this evening with heavy rain due at around 6pm. It would be a sad anti-climax if rain had the final say in our 2012 T20 campaign, but that may well be the case.

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