Surrey set for recruitment drive
Surrey are to embark on a recruitment drive following the loss of several key players, according to their director of cricket Chris Adams.
The club, reeling from the death of Tom Maynard, have also lost Mark Ramprakash to retirement and their captain, Rory Hamilton-Brown to a prolonged period of compassionate leave. No time frame has been put upon Hamilton-Brown's return, with the club admitting he may not play again this season.
That leaves them without three of their top six from the start of the season and, while Adams is keen to provide opportunities to the club's younger players, he also feels the club need to bring in more experienced players
"We will definitely be recruiting," Adams told ESPNcricinfo. "We were always going to be looking for an opening batsman and an overseas player, but now we will be looking for a middle-order batsman as well. We also need an infusion of leadership, so we may be looking at senior players.
"Most people wait to the off-season to rebuild, but we will start now. We have a very different group of players now. A month ago we had a team who had earned the right to have a bit of freedom with their preparation, that dynamic has changed. We have a young group, with less knowledge, and I've asked the coaching staff to take a more hands-on approach with them.
"We are more than fine with our seam bowling unit and we will be giving more opportunities to some of our young players. Zafar Ansari is a star of the future while Jason Roy has suddenly become a senior batsman. The likes of Tom Lancefield, Arun Harinath, Gary Wilson, Rory Burns and Matthew Spriegel will all have opportunities, too. There are a couple of other players - the likes of Chris Jordan - who need to show us what they can do over the next couple of months.
"We've been left in a state of rebuilding. And that rebuilding job starts now."
Adams' words will spread discomfort around the county circuit. Surrey's budget and ambition are more than a match for any competitor and, as has been shown in recent times, the richer clubs are now prepared to compensate counties for players who are in contracts elsewhere.
Adams dismissed the idea that Ramprakash might have been asked to postpone his retirement to provide some experience in a green-looking top-order. "We have been very fortunate to have seen the best of Mark Ramprakash at Surrey," Adams said. "I first saw him when I was 13 and I knew then that he was going to be a genius. But he has made his decision and I respect that. The time was right for him."
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo