County news April 20, 2008

Lewis makes early Surrey return

Cricinfo staff

Chris Lewis made a surprise early return to the Surrey team for their opening Friends Provident Trophy match against Middlesex at The Oval. Lewis signed with his former county for the Twenty20 Cup, but Surrey have been hit by illness in the first week of the season, however his return with the ball ended with six overs for 51 runs.

Matt Nicholson missed the Championship match against Lancashire with flu and now James Ormond and Saqlain Mushtaq have also fallen ill. To further thin the resources Neil Saker has a knee injury and wasn't available for selection.

Lewis last played for Surrey in 1997 and his previous county outing was in August 2000 for Leicestershire against Kent. Despite being out of the first-class scene for nearly eight years Lewis has remained fit by playing club cricket and regular matches for the PCA Masters. A number of former professionals have said he remains quick enough - both with the ball and in the field - to play county cricket.

When Lewis signed with Surrey he said: "You ask yourself how your body's fixed and you realise everything's OK. I've had a bit of a slow start in the nets but it's starting to come together. I'm excited by the idea."

A chance to show what he can still do has come earlier than expected and he received a warm round of applause when he came into the attack for the 12th over. However, things didn't quite go to plan. His first two-over spell cost 24 and he finished with figures of 6-0-51-0 as Andrew Strauss belted 163.