Tuesday, 18 September 2012

2012 review: The bowlers

We can hardly call 2012 a vintage year with bat or ball but there have been some highlights (and one or two lowlights). Here is my summary of how each of Surrey's main bowlers got on this year.

Stuart Meaker
CC: 44 wkts @ 22. CB40: 9 wkts @ 21. T20: 4 wkts @ 25
The standout bowler for Surrey by a country mile in 2012. Compared to 2011 the stats are almost freakishly similar, identical number of Championship wickets, identical average and an almost identical strike rate, but there is no doubt in my mind that he's a far better player now than he was 12 months ago. It seemed that whenever he was thrown the ball he took wickets. Only twice in 15 meaningful bowling innings did he go without taking a wicket. No other bowler can match his three 5-fors, including an 8-for against Somerset and over the last three years he's been by a distant margin our most prolific wicket taker. There is no question that he is the leader of our bowling attack, its just a matter of time before he starts to disappear with England more and more often. In my opinion Meaker is criminally under-used by cautious captains in limited overs cricket - he may go round the park once or twice but he'll get you wickets all the time.

Jon Lewis
CC: 31 wkts @ 31. CB40: 4 wkts @ 49.
Very much a season of two halves for the veteran seamer. He burst on to the scene in his first five games at the club, picking up 23 wickets in his first five games at just 19 apiece, and scoring 155 crucial runs in the lower order to boot. But the T20 break seemed to all but decimate that run of form. Although he remained solid with the bat, in his last eight games this season he picked up just eight wickets at 66. He did remain a consistent no-baller throughout the season though, racking up 50 in all, giving away exactly 100 runs in the process. He needs to cut out this infuriating habit! We can only hope that his second half drop off in form is temporary, rather than representing the tail end of an illustrious career.

Gareth Batty
CC: 30 wkts @ 26. CB40: 14 wkts @ 17. T20: 11 wkts @ 14
So much more than just a bowler, and by that I don't mean he's an allrounder because his returns with the bat this year were pretty poor. His willingness to step up and lead the side in the aftermath of Tom Maynard's death was inspirational and he was the glue that held the side together for the remainder of the season. He isn't the greatest of spinners - he only took more than three wickets in a match three times in 2011 (but we did win two of those), and I don't think he's the greatest tactician in the world - his reluctance to change things around in the second innings against Middlesex nearly cost us the game. But, and its a big but, he's a key part of the team. He remains, at 35 years of age, a buzzing presence on the cricket field. His performances in the limited overs games, particularly the T20 where he gave up just 5 runs an over, were a vast improvement on previous years. There's life in the old dog yet.

Murali Kartik
CC: 27 wkts @ 22. CB40: 11 wkts @ 19. T20: 7 wkts @ 25
Pragyan Ojha was always going to be a hard, if not impossible, act to follow and Kartik was no Ojha. But neither was he poor. Because of the vagaries of the schedule, despite being available from the end of May onwards he only played seven matches in the Championship. On the spin-friendly wickets prepared for him at the Oval he took 13 wickets at 17 but he wasn't quite the devastating bowler we'd hoped he would be, think Abdur Rehman at Somerset for example. It can't have been easy for him to settle into the dressing room this year though and he did a solid, if unspectacular job for us.

Jade Dernbach
CC: 19 wkts @ 27. CB40: 13 wkts @ 23. T20: 3 wkts @ 13
A curious season for Dernbach who who played only 19 of Surrey's 37 matches thanks to international commitments and injuries. Along with Davies, Roy and Hamilton-Brown, Maynard's death seemed to hit Dernbach particularly hard and perhaps it was a blessing that he had England duty to keep his mind in order. It cannot have been easy to perform, in England colours or otherwise, after the events of June. Still he took wickets for Surrey more or less whenever he played, save for that infamous game at Horsham. Not his best season for Surrey and will probably continue to play only a bit part because of international duty.

Tim Linley
CC: 16 wkts @ 29
Surrey's leading wicket taker and 2011 player of the season, Linley must have been perplexed to have been left on the sidelines for the opening fixture of 2012, dropped in favour of newcomer Lewis. He only twice played in consecutive fixtures and 16 wickets make this season seem like a shadow of last. The step up to division one, and the change from Tiflex to Dukes ball explains some of the downturn in his wicket taking fortunes, but probably not as much as him being in and out of the team so much. With Dernbach and Meaker possibly away with England plenty he may yet play a significant role in 2013. There is no bigger team player in the side and he deserves better than he got this season.

Dirk Nannes
T20: 4 wkts @ 51
The man who so impressed as a last minute replacement for Shaun Tait in 2011 couldn't replicate that form this season. If you're not taking wickets in T20 you need to be extremely frugal, but Nannes couldn't manage that either this year, leaking almost 10 runs an over throughout his 9 games. He didn't feature at all in the IPL this season which meant he came into the T20 cup with very few miles in his legs. I'm not sure he'll be back in a Surrey shirt in 2013.

The rest
George Edwards (5 wkts @ 36) erupted into Surrey's first team with four impressive second innings wickets against Worcestershire but was rarely seen elswhere. He showed enough to suggest he has a big future, but will Adams have faith? Matt Dunn was another who didn't get a look in, he played the final Championship game of the season, picking up a single wicket in the process. Chris Tremlett also played just a single Championship fixture and also picked up just one wicket as injury book-ended his season. After playing 12 games in 2010 to such great effect, he's played just four Championship games since then, the future is a touch uncertain for the big man.

No comments: