Advantages Plenty of internationals in current squad
Disadvantages County form disrupted by test calls
The Surrey side of the 1950s was perhaps one of the finest county sides ever. The team won seven consecutive county championships. The team consisted of great players such as Ken Barrington, Peter May, Alec + Eric Bedser, Jim Laker, Tony Lock, Peter Loader etc.Ken Barrington - was a hard-hitting batsman. He even managed the England touring team to the West Indies in 1980-81. On that tour there was the infamous Robin Jackman affair, which needed all of Ken’s diplomatic skills. The strain proved too much for him and he passed away on that tour with a heart attack.
Peter May - was England captain in the early 1960s. His highest test score is 285 not out. In the 1980s he was chairman of the England selectors. His godson is Chris Cowdrey who was made England captain for one match. This was a classic case of nepotism. Peter carved out a successful career in the city.Alec Bedser - was a fast medium bowler. Even the late Don Bradman praised his bowling. Alec later became chairman of the England selectors. His twin brother was Eric.
Jim Laker - is one of the all-time great spin bowlers. He took 19 wickets in an Old Trafford test in the mid 1950s. This feat is unlikely to be surpassed. Jim later became a cricket commentator for BBC1. I must admit that I found his commentary very boring. I learnt more about cricket from his co-commentator Richie Benaud.Tony Lock - was another spin bowler. He was Laker’s partner in crime. After retirement he immigrated to Australia.
Peter Loader - played for England a few times. As a bowler he once took 100 wickets in a season. The story goes that going into the final day of the season 4 of Surrey’s bowlers had taken 100 wickets except Peter who was on 99. Jim Laker bowled 2 feet outside off-stump in order not to take any more wickets. This enabled Peter to complete his century of wickets for the season.Comparisons of this great team and the Surrey of today cannot be made due to the large amount of one-day cricket being played nowadays. Nowadays the job of the bowlers is to restrict the run rate. Many years ago it was to capture wickets. One-day cricket has also affected batting technique. This is the main reason why test matches rarely go into the 5th day.
Over the years Surrey has brought in quality overseas players:Intikhab Alam – a great off-spinner. He was captain of Pakistan for the 1971 tour of England. On that tour his bowling was taken apart by a rampant Alan Knott. Intikhab later became manager of the Pakistan team.Jim Laker said that Intikhab used to hit cricket balls like bullets. Intikhab’s bowling style was unique. Before every ball he used to lick his finger and dab the moisture onto the ball. This enabled him to get extra turn from the pitch.
Geoff Howarth – came in at number 3 or 4 in the batting order. He was later made captain of New Zealand. He made the tabloid press by cheating on his wife. Cricket marriages break down more often than the average marriage. This is due to the large amount of matches being played away from home.
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