Wednesday, 6 March 2013

What Happened To Surrey's Youth Policy?

As a lifelong Surrey fan it is hard not to be excited at the prospect of Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting and Kevin Pietersen all lining up at the Oval this summer, yet there’s something that doesn’t quite sit easy.

Although Smith and Ponting will only cross over for a couple of games, there is the possibility that Surrey could field a side that looks like this:
1. Smith (31)
2. Solanki (36)
3. Ponting (39)
4. Pietersen (32)
5. De Bruyn (37)
6. Davies (27)
7. Batty (35)
8. Tremlett (31)
9. Lewis (37)
10. Keedy (38)
11. Linley (30)

It does not take a genius to spot that this is not going to be the most agile team in the field. In the last couple of seasons Surrey have been accused of lacking experience and knowhow in the ranks. It seems now that Chris Adams is rivaling David Cameron in terms of policy u-turns.

On an individual basis it is easy to argue a case for each of these aging faces who have been brought it. Certainly guys like Solanki and Keedy are of a fine pedigree and could help in the bringing through of the younger members of the squad, guys like Jason Roy and Matthew Dunn for example. But if these guys never get to play, or are restricted in their opportunities, then what use is that?

Despite the Tom Maynard tragedy and subsequent departure of former captain Rory Hamilton-Brown, there remains a core of good young talent on the books at the Oval. Smith seems a good choice to lead them into a new and hopefully successful era, but when it comes to balancing the books there is no doubt that money will triumph and the bigger names will gain selection over those trying to prove themselves.

Chris Adams has proved himself a strong leader in the past, but I think 2013 could be his biggest Test yet – if this policy gamble backfires then I’d like to know what long term strategy is in place.

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