BY MARCUS HOOK
Ben Foakes reckons it is down to the few experienced players that Surrey have left to inspire the youngsters and – in turn – lift the South Londoners out of the doldrums.
For the second week running Surrey came close to recording their first win of the season, but the T20 clash with Essex at The Oval finished in a tie, with scores level.
Despite going toe-to-toe with the reigning T20 champions, the 27-year-old keeper batsman saw it as an opportunity missed.
“It’s a bit of a freak year with the amount of senior guys we have out,” said Foakes.
“A few of the guys have tried to take that on. But we’re in a situation where we’ve got five or six guys playing who wouldn’t usually. It’s a great learning opportunity for them, but it’s also about some of us being a hand on the shoulder for them, so they can learn.”
Foakes hit what should have been a match-winning 44. He said: “When you need one to win off two balls, it feels like a loss.
“It was a tricky wicket to bat on, but it’s what we want to play on at home and, all in all, I thought all the bowlers bowled well.
“We had a couple of opportunities in the game when we were really in front, so it’s fair to say we blew it and we need to be pretty honest with ourselves.
“For the younger guys it’s all about how you learn from games like these, and do things slightly different next time. They’ve done really well. They’ve come in and got an opportunity. But for guys like that it’s about staking a claim for when guys do come back -almost make themselves undroppable, which should be their goal.
“With the lack of experience we have it means teams are looking at us as a potential win, but I still think we can create a formula and try and upset them.”
One of the new faces is Dan Moriarty, 21, who has been quick to find his feet in T20 cricket.
The left-arm spinner took 3-25 against Kent, who were eventually seen home by Heino Kuhn (42 not out) after Surrey posted a below par 161-4 at Canterbury.
“Kent clawed it back well and although we showed spirit, unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough to get over the line,” said Moriarty.
“The game ebbed and flowed and I felt we fought well in quite a few passages. We had a few early wickets go down, so for Hash [Hashim Amla] and Rory [Burns] to put on 127 for the fourth wicket really showed fight.”
Amla, who hit 75 in his first outing for Surrey this season, has made an instant impression since flying in from South Africa.
“Hash showed that class is permanent,” said Moriarty. “He has a lovely presence and has really assisted the group a lot. The guys are really learning from him. His performance is almost irrelevant because he adds so much value off the field. To see him go out there and go about his business was quite special to watch.
“The wicket was helpful to slow-bowling and we had a good game plan coming in. I felt pleased that I executed my own skills quite well.
“It’s about us as a collective, trusting our process and buying into that belief. These things don’t happen overnight so we’ll just have to keep chipping away.”
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