The proud recipient of the 2010 Surrey Cricket Blog award for Opposition Player of the Year, Vikram Solanki, has signed a two year deal with Surrey from 2013.
Chris Adams said just last week that the recruitment process would begin immediately, but I wasn't quite expecting the first signing to be confirmed so soon. Given that Adams said that he would be looking for experience, and Solanki's contract was up for renewal at Worcestershire this year, it seems a perfectly logical choice.
Moreover, Solanki is a wonderful batsman to watch and has almost 300 first class matches under his belt, scoring 31 hundreds in the process. At 36 years of age, I'm slightly surprised that he's been given a two year deal but he would have been unlikely to sign for a single season and the fact that Adams was desperate for wise old heads will not have gone unnoticed by Solanki himself.
Although he's not had the best of years in 2012, averaging just 26 in the Championship so far, he was far more impressive in 2011 in scoring over 1,000 runs at 42, all but topping the Worcestershire batting and bagging himself three hundreds. Hopefully he can replicate that for us, rather than his 2012 form. He is also a more than handy limited overs players, as we found to our cost in the CB40 in 2010 where he scored a sparkling hundred.
A cursory glance at our batting order for the last couple of games tells its own story. There is bags of potential, but not many years of first class experience between them. Of course we'd all like to see an XI packed with Surrey players born and bred, but having that and having success just is not possible in the short term. Solanki will be a leader in the dressing room, that will be what Adams has signed him for, and it's hard to fault the logic of that. He may not score millions of runs, but I'm sure he'll be worth his place in the side.