April 12, 2013

Jordan debut poses questions for Surrey

Josh Green
Chris Jordan took 6 for 48 on his Sussex debut, Yorkshire v Sussex, County Championship, Division One, Headingley, 1st day, April 10, 2013
Surrey hearts may sink if they see too much more of this - Chris Jordan celebrating another wicket for Sussex  © PA Photos
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For Surrey fans, the curious case of case of Chris Jordan raises some interesting questions this week owing to his impressive debut for Sussex. Let me get my caveat out of the way at the outset of this post: no conclusions can be drawn on the basis of one innings, for either a batsman or a bowler. Nonetheless, like I said, questions...

Jordan returned figures of 6-48 from 15 overs bowling first change for Sussex against Yorkshire at Headingley. By all accounts, the 24-year-old Barbadian bowled with no little skill and pace. In five seasons with Surrey he had failed to register a single five-wicket haul. He skips town to our South Coast rivals and lo and behold, he's bagged a six-fer in his first game. When he departed the club at the end of 2012, I came to the conclusion that a change of scenery might just do the trick for him. Based on today's efforts, it certainly has.

The talented allrounder never lacked chances at Surrey. He played 40 first-class matches for the club and, in addition to no five-fors, he also never scored a hundred, registering only four fifties in his time. A talent unfulfilled or not much of a talent at all? The general consensus, not least from Mark Ramprakash, who tweeted: 'Chris Jordan 6 wickets for Sussex on debut v Yorkshire, but not good enough for Surrey !?!?' is the former, so what went wrong?

Jordan is one of the more infuriating Surrey players of recent years. Inconsistent doesn't quite do it justice. In the opening game of last season - against Sussex funnily enough - he bowled some excellent spells and came away with 3-29. A corner had been turned, the Surrey faithful rejoiced! Not so. On that day, as on pretty much every day he bowled, he was quick, really quick, but there would always be too many deliveries just asking to be hit to the boundary. He also had a knack of bowling no balls and took an absolute age to get back to his mark, contributing to some disastrously slow over rates.

He certainly had his fair share of injury, missing the entirety of 2010 with a back injury and there were others besides which won't have helped his progression one iota. Perhaps he wasn't given the guidance and coaching he needed; it's certainly hard to doubt his raw ability. Or maybe he didn't work hard enough at his own game? You might get different versions of the same story from player and club. Rory Hamilton-Brown talked of Sussex being a more "caring" club - maybe that is how Jordan needs to feel about his surroundings as well.

If he continues this progress, talk of an international career will be revived before long. Should his talent with bat and ball begin to be fulfilled it will look like a very poor decision by Surrey to let him leave the club. The argument that he'd have struggled to get into the starting XI of a squad with so much seam bowling talent doesn't hold water for me - Jordan is an allrounder, and genuine allrounders are conspicuous by their absence from the Oval this pre-season (indeed fast bowling allrounders are pretty rare full stop).

Whether Jordan really makes his old club live to regret letting him depart remains to be seen. I suspect he'll be very keen to make a point when Sussex visit the Oval at the end of April. Every club says goodbye to players who go on to make it big (or nearly big) somewhere else and as I said above any definitive judgement is hugely premature, but it will be fascinating to see how Jordan develops during the 2013 season. And in the absence of a Surrey match this week it does at least give me something to worry about.

Josh Green has been riding the Surrey cricket blogging rollercoaster since 2009. He tweets here

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Keywords: Allrounders,

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Posted by Tom_Huelin on (April 17, 2013, 23:14 GMT)

Chris Jordan has certainly started well for Sharks! Take on board all the reservations that you Surrey fans had with him at the Oval, accuracy, penetration and speed in returning to crease, which I've read a few times actually, but as starts go last week was exceptional, albeit in favourable conditions. Will be interesting to see if he can continue, and contribute some runs too.

Posted by BRUTALANALYST on (April 13, 2013, 16:45 GMT)

Look forward to Jordan progressing and representing the West Indies in future, he has what it takes to make it.

Posted by countjimmoriarty on (April 13, 2013, 12:25 GMT)

It's all very well putting it there on a seaming pitch and the ball swinging round corners, which is what he did on the first day. It will be more instructive to see what he does when the conditions are not completely in his favour.

Perfect example of the toss deciding a game.

Posted by DaveMorton on (April 12, 2013, 22:18 GMT)

Jordan has bowled pretty well at Headingley these last few days, sharp in pace and a fullish length (apart from three successive bouncers at Sidebottom), so he did get driven occasionally. I don't want to put the mockers on him, but he was holding his back in the final session.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Josh Green
A relative latecomer to the Members entrance at Surrey CCC, Josh Green only managed to catch the end of the glory years. Since then there have been more crushing disappointments than glorious highs, but his fondness for the club continues unabated. It's best not to talk about his prowess as a cricketer, though one square drive struck for two in 2010 does stick in his mind. @SurreyCricBlog

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