Marcus Hook’s Surrey CCC column: Royal London slump is a big worry heading into crunch run of County Championship matches

BY MARCUS HOOK

Surrey were the only side in the country to lose seven out of eight in the group phase of the Royal London, and the reason was simple – not enough runs.

It’s a massive concern heading into nine back-to-back County Championship matches, in which the biggest examination, as always, will be a batsman’s durability.

Collapses of 88 against Gloucestershire in the opener to the 50-over campaign and 127 against Kent last week were obvious low points.

After the Kent game, Surrey’s head coach Michael Di Venuto said: “We’ve been poor in this tournament, there’s no hiding that, but today it got worse, just when I didn’t think it could.”

Both this year and last Surrey were the only team that failed to post a 300-plus total. Their best was the 295-4 they made against Essex at Chelmsford 12 months ago.

Some of the shots Surrey’s batsmen got out to in this year’s Royal London were so criminal they wouldn’t look out of place on Crimewatch.

Even in this week’s defeat at Taunton, batsmen gave their wickets away needlessly, which underlined that 289-9 was unlikely to be enough.

As Rory Burns said following the five-wicket defeat to Somerset: “It was a disappointing end to a disappointing campaign. Obviously, it’s not how we wanted it to go.

“Foakesy [Ben Foakes] has been brilliant throughout the competition. We probably asked too much of him as a side at stages.

“He played beautifully again. But we’ve got to draw a line under it and move on to a big red-ball period now.

“There’s no time to lick our wounds. We’ve got to get our heads down and start working hard, start working smarter and see where we get to. There’s nine red-ball games on the bounce, so it’s a big period.

“Somerset are a side on the roll at the minute, but we’re the champions in that format, so we’ve got to start playing like it and start showing why we are champions.”


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