Chris Adams 2013 squad continues to take shape as the veteran left arm spinner Gary Keedy was added to the Surrey roster on a two year contract.
I have long hankered after an English spinner, ideally a left armer, to complement Batty and my preference was for one of Keedy or Dean Cosker, so I can hardly complain. Indeed I do think Keedy will do a fine job in keeping the run rate down and picking up regular wickets, even if the signing is perhaps a year or two late to be ideal.
Though Keedy is a high quality player there is a lingering concern in the back of my mind that we have now signed two players the wrong side of 35 who struggled to make it into the starting XIs of teams that were relegated. Add to that a worry that with at least five players in a likely starting XI getting on in years we certainly don't pose the threat in the field that we once did. Keedy will be 40 by the time he sees out his Surrey contract.
Of course the logical response to that is that we are now a vastly more experienced squad. Solanki and Keedy have over 500 first class games between them which could prove invaluable. If they aren't the players they once were, they certainly have something to offer a squad in transition, to say the least.
But more than a concern about whether they will score runs or take wickets, I worry about what this says about the long term plans of Surrey County Cricket Club. The logic that Keedy will pass on some of his vast experience to the other left arm spinners at the club, Zafar Ansari and Freddie van den Bergh, is not without merit but I am of another school of opinion. I think the best way for Ansari and van den Bergh to become better spinners is to play as often as possible against top class players. I struggle to see how this is going to be possible with Batty and Keedy as first choice spinners.
What's more, at the end of the 2012 season we waved goodbye to two very worthy (and home grown, and young) batsmen in Tom Lancefield and Matthew Spriegel who had barely been picked to play a single first class game over the preceding two years. All the while replacing them with a 36 year old veteran who averaged 23 in Championship cricket in 2012. It's not that I don't think Keedy or Solanki will be successful, I'm just not sure that we're setting ourselves on the best long term footing.
I can't help thinking that two years hence we'll be scouring the 'out of contract' lists for three or four more ready made players when we could have been building for the future. Great teams are rarely bought but are forged over time. Perhaps in the age of the desire for instant success that's a naive position to take, and I sincerely hope I'm proved wrong in all of my assertions above. There will still be more signings I'm sure, an overseas batsman and perhaps one other batting option, which may give us a better balanced squad age-wise.
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