County Championship 2021: Surrey Preview

What Happened Last Year?

After a difficult 2019, Surrey would have hoped to win more than the one game they did in the 2020 Bob Willis Trophy. The London county were well beaten by Middlesex, Essex, Hampshire and Kent, and although they ended the season with a much needed victory over Sussex, it was, sadly, another disappointing year for Surrey.

As a team, Surrey struggled, and their batters faring no better.

Nobody who played three or more matches made an average of 50 plus, with Rory Burns and Ben Foakes, who played one and two games apiece, the only centurions. After Burns and Foakes (and Jamie Overton's sole innings of 55), the next highest batting average was Will Jacks, with just 31.

The sole highlight was with the ball for Surrey. Specifically, the turning ball, as 22 year-old spinners Amar Virdi and Dan Moriarty dominated the wicket takers column. Virdi picked up 22 at 25.9, Moriarty 17 at 20.11. Worryingly though, veteran Rikki Clarke was the only pacer to take more than 10 wickets.

Key Player for 2021

South African great Hashim Amla will be playing for Surrey this year as one of their overseas players. Given their batting weakness last year, Amla will be a vital addition, should Surrey want to make challenging batting totals.

The South African legend has 9,282 test runs at an average of 46.64, and an impressive test average of 60.33 in England. Amla also has the record for the highest individual test score by a South African, a whopping 311*, which was made at Surrey's home, the KIA Oval, back in 2012.

England Hopeful

With the Ashes looming ever closer on the horizon, attention, as ever, is turning to England's pace bowling stocks, and the top order batting. For the quicks, England, for once seem in good stead, with Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Olly Stone all talented quicks. However, Jamie Overton, formally of Somerset, will be pushing to join that list.

Overton took 15 wickets in four games at 12.4 for eventual BWT runners-up Somerset last year, and will want to carry his skillset onto bigger things for Surrey, to really pressure the selectors.

While Overton can be a useful lower order hitter, his pace and bounce prove very impressive. After a poor pace bowling performance from Surrey last year, his wickets may help his county, and his international push, no end.

Overton may be an England hopeful, but Rory Burns is an England in-dire-need-of-you-finding-form-ful! Burns, after making his first two test hundreds against Australia and New Zealand in 2019, has now made just two fifties in his eight tests since the start of the 2020 English summer. He is not an England hopeful, but England will be hopeful that his from will recover for Surrey.

Target for This Year

Surrey find themselves in a decent group this year.

While Somerset will prove very tough opposition, and the others in Middlesex, Leicestershire, Hampshire and Gloucestershire will not be easy, Surrey should fancy their chances of winning some games.

They will be bolstered in their attempts by Kemar Roach, who will be available until mid-May. The West Indian quick, who is the eighth highest test wicket-taker for his country, will enjoy the seaming conditions of the early season.

Laurie Evans has also been made a permanent signing, and he should add batting depth, although he will likely be of more use in the white-ball games.

2021 Prediction: 4th in Group Two.


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