Marcus Hook’s Surrey CCC column: No reason Foakes shouldn’t be allowed to return

BY MARCUS HOOK

Surrey’s focus switches to Hampshire, who are also contending with an ever-lengthening injury list, the absence of a key player in James Vince (who is in England’s ODI squad) and far fewer Kolpaks, due to the current travelling restrictions.

I’m not suggesting Surrey are set to break their duck, but at least they’ll enjoy more of a level playing field against the side who embarrassed them at Southampton 11 months ago.
Just two bowlers – veteran all-rounder Keith Barker and America’s Ian Holland – remain from the Hampshire attack that bundled Surrey out for 162 and 151 last September.

Last Friday, one of the entries on Surrey’s social media page read: “Our debutants this week”. My initial reaction was – is this a hint that we can expect even more next week?

Both of the newbies – Gus Atkinson and Adam Finch acquitted themselves well with the ball.

But if the twinge Rikki Clarke picked up at Chelmsford rules him out of the trip to Arundel, maybe Surrey will be forced to get more players on loan.

Fast bowler Morne Morkel is rumoured to be flying in from Australia this week. If he does, he’ll certainly be a sight for sore eyes.

But it’s not in the bowling department where Surrey have been deficient. The batting averages make for very sorry reading – only Jamie Smith (43.25), Will Jacks (31.75) and Scott Borthwick (24.50) are averaging more than 21 for the Oval outfit.

How they could do with Ben Foakes, who is not only a non-playing member, but also a “not likely to be playing” member of England’s Test squad, now that Jos Buttler has returned to form with the bat (at this point, I’ll just gloss over his abilities as a wicketkeeper).

If England can allow Jonny Bairstow to leave the bio bubble that’s the ODI squad to play for Yorkshire, then why can’t Foakes be given home leave?

Perhaps someone should have a word with Amnesty International.


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