Surrey’s Cameron Steel an early front-runner in leading County Championship wicket-takers

Surrey leg-spinner Cameron Steel followed up his career best 5-25 against Lancashire a fortnight ago with figures of 4-50 and 5-95 in the draw with Somerset, making him the early front-runner as the leading wicket-taker in this year’s County Championship.

But for back-to-back half-centuries from Somerset skipper Lewis Gregory, and the loss of 20 overs to rain on the final day, the South Londoners’ decision to bat last in the hope of chasing a score in the fourth innings at the Oval very nearly paid off.

Steel said afterwards that Surrey were prepared, whatever the equation, to have a dart. Faced with a victory target of 209 off 19 overs, the hosts raced to 90 without loss in eight overs, thanks to Jamie Smith and Dan Lawrence, before a mini-collapse convinced the South Londoners that discretion was the better part of valour.

“We said we would chase whatever they set us, but sadly we couldn’t get over the line,” said Steel, pictured inset. “It was a tough slog for us.

“It would have been nice to have bowled Somerset out a bit sooner to get a better chance at the chase but all credit to them, they played very well on a good surface.

“I had no issues with the pitch – it’s what we like to play on and, generally, it gets flatter as the game goes on. But it became hard to take wickets as the Kookaburra ball got softer and softer.”

The 28-year-old leg-spinner, who joined Surrey in 2021 following spells with Middlesex and Durham, has already taken 14 wickets at 12.21 runs apiece this term.

“I’m just loving bowling,” said Steel. “I’ve worked so hard over the last five years, and especially in the last 18 months, so it’s really nice to get a go and show everyone what I’ve known I can do.”

Looking ahead to the next game, against Kent, Steel said: “We tend to go with five seamers if we can, but we’ll take a look at the pitch and see what’s happening.

“Dan Worrall will be back and we’ll be playing with a Dukes ball again. We’ve got the luxury as a squad that we’ve got lots of guys to pick from, but hopefully I’ll get another game and we can put our first win of the season on the board.”


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