Worcestershire v Surrey, New Road, 4th day August 19, 2010

Batty row overshadows Shakib's six

George Dobell at New Road

Worcestershire 308 and 319 beat Surrey 259 and 130 by 238 runs

A collapse of rare ineptitude sentenced Surrey to their sixth loss of the championship campaign as they slid to a 238-run loss at New Road.

Surrey's batsmen, displaying a recklessness that would have embarrassed schoolboys, squandered their last six wickets for the addition of 18 runs in just 27 balls on the final morning. It meant they had lost all ten second-innings wickets in the space of just 86 balls.

The result was overshadowed, however, by an incident between Worcestershire supporters and Gareth Batty. Batty, who left Worcestershire at the end of last season, had been heckled throughout the match and, after his dismissal in Surrey's second innings, stopped several times on his way off the pitch to exchange words with spectators.

Following a brief visit to the dressing room to remove his pads, he reemerged, walked into seating area and sat down next to one of the more vocal critics. "What have I done to offend you," Batty began. After several minutes of heated conversation, Ian Salisbury, who is on the Surrey coaching staff, led Batty away. Batty was later spotted in tears being consoled by his team-mates.

Batty's feelings, if not his actions, are understandable. He served Worcestershire with distinction for eight years and, as recently as July last year, captained the county. He could never be accused of giving anything less than his best and he was hardly the only man to leave the club last year. Indeed, his Surrey team-mate, Steve Davies, made the same move but was warmly received here. The antipathy towards Batty, therefore is illogical and mean spirited. I understand that his mother was also the victim of some pretty caustic comments. There's no excuse for that.

As a professional, however, Batty has to develop a thicker skin. He is 32 years old and a veteran of 18 internationals for England. However understandable his actions, he would have been better served turning the other cheek. The criticism he took here is nothing compared to that endured by professional footballers.

Worcestershire's chairman, 'Percy' Price subsequently apologised to Batty on behalf of the club. "We're a friendly club," Price said. "We don't want to be known for this sort of thing. All our former players are welcome back and Gareth, who always gave his best, is a fine chap."

"It's quite sad," Chris Adams said afterwards. "It's quite sad that he wasn't afforded respect by the supporters after putting in long service here. It shows a lack of respect.

"He's a feisty lad anyway. He plays with a lot of passion and he wears his heart on his sleeve. He outs everything into his cricket.

"Exactly what was said, I don't know. But I'm sure that when he reflects on it, he'll be disappointed that he allowed himself to react.

"He just really wanted to do well. He's bowled fantastically at times this season but, Tremlett apart - he hasn't been backed up by the other bowlers."

Surrey actually started the final day rather well. Davies and Rory Hamilton-Brown thrashed 46 in the first five overs of the morning, with Hamilton-Brown hitting Matt Mason for 14 in three deliveries: two beautifully driven fours followed by a flick over square leg for six.

But if the aim was to be positive, it soon spilled over into recklessness. Davies, charging down the pitch and trying to hit Shakib Al Hasan over the top, succeeded only in lofting a catch to mid-off before, two balls later, Hamilton-Brown straight to the man on the long-off fence.

It was remarkably gormless cricket. As Adams said later: "There's no problem taking a positive approach. Hitting over the top to spread the field is fine. But, if you've spread the field and continue to play aerial shots, well, you're mad, aren't you?

"We've seven youngsters [under 25] in this side and they're learning what it means to be 'positive.' It doesn't mean you go out there and play reckless cricket. You can be positive in defence, too.

"But, I've been asked to do without an overseas player and, with a young side, you're going to get these peaks and troughs. They're going to make mistakes and they key is to learn from them. Those that learn the lessons will make it in the game; those that don't, won't. At the moment, if Ramprakash doesn't bat for three sessions, we under achieve.

"But the game wasn't lost on the last morning. We had them 100 for 5 in their first innings, but they scored 300 and, in the second innings, we let them score 180 in a session. We're far off where we want to be."

Shakib was the main beneficiary of Surrey's poor batting. Maintaining a calm head despite the early assault, he lured the batsmen into rash strokes by varying his pace and flight. It was his second five-wicket haul in three games and the 11th of his career.

Mason also bounced back to claim three wickets. If he was somewhat fortunate to win a leg-before decision against Stewart Walters - it looked far too high - he deserved the wickets of Matt Spriegel, back when he should have been forward, and Batty, who sliced a drive to point.

This win revives Worcestershire's promotion hopes. They are far from the finished article but, with players as young and talented as Alexei Kervezee and Moeen Ali in the side, they can look forward to the future with guarded optimism. It was also a fine start for new captain, Daryl Mitchell. He will not, however, have victory presented to him on a plate quite as easily as this very often.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • tarif on August 23, 2010, 6:32 GMT

    hey, wats this? mr.reporter, u have written hardly nething bout sakib. pooooooor report!!!!!!!!!!

  • Afzalur on August 22, 2010, 18:08 GMT

    what kind of report is thist?? is it a joke?? where does it say something about shakib al hasan?? who bowled so well & beutifully no where its because hes from bangladesh. just look at swan he got some inexperiance, weak bangladeshi & pakistani wickets & now hes number one spiner in the world but let me remind u that shakib al hassan is listed in ICC RANKING NO1 ODI ALLROUNDER, NO2 ODI BOWLER, NO3 TEST ALLROUNDER, NO9 TEST BOWLER & please in the future dont ingnore this highly telanted players like this only because they are not english or they dont play for england.

  • Dummy4 on August 21, 2010, 19:12 GMT

    I`m a Surrey supporter and a Worcester member. I was at the match for all or some of three days. I gather Batty was not particularly popular when he was with Worcester and a few barbed comments were made by spectators I was sitting near. But to suggest he was the subject of abuse from the crowd is not I think correct. Ramps also had remarks made to him in the first innings by one or two members when he was out-there`ll always be the odd grumpy spectator even in an atmosphere as friendly as New Road.

  • Dummy4 on August 21, 2010, 5:33 GMT

    Nothing of a cricket match report at least. If these six wickets were taken by an English, imagine how many para or lines would had been dedicated for that but here shakib got only 2.5 lines. Bravo Mr. Reporter.

    Weel done shakib and go on with bat & ball equally.

  • Md Mohashin on August 20, 2010, 19:02 GMT

    Poor report. A match report should speak more about how the game was played rather than a stray incident.

  • kim on August 20, 2010, 18:45 GMT

    Hi Bob Ness. You have lived in London for a while havent you? Because otherwise you would know that George Dobell lives in the Midlands, has been covering Worcestershire for many years - indeed only last week he penned a wonderfull tribute to your departing Chief Executive, Mark Newton.

    No "southern bias" here Im afraid.

  • George on August 20, 2010, 17:01 GMT

    Hi, Don't know how normal it is for writers to comment on their own story but... I think a few of you may have misunderstood. This piece was the fourth day report. Fewer than 10 overs were bowled. For the other 3 day's reports, you need only click on the links on the match scorecard. There's no bias: two days lead with Worcestershire stories; two with Surrey. Best wishes, George Dobell

  • Dummy4 on August 20, 2010, 15:47 GMT

    No one can overshadow shakib on this match.,,, He got 6th wickets & currently world's top ranked all rounder. GB had only played 20 odd matchs for England.. Worcester needed boost & shakib provided at the right moment.

  • Dummy4 on August 20, 2010, 13:06 GMT

    I have to confess I've lived in London for a large number of years, but I'm Worcester born and bred. I stated this because I don't think the Worcester supporters are being paranoid here. There is definite 'Southern' bias in a lot of reporting and this article is no exception. I remember the sulky way Worcester's thrashing of Middlesex was reported at the beginning of the season. All I can to Mr. George Dobell you go back to 'your soft southern pastures' and if I see you down here; well, I won't be buying you a pint. As for Worcester, a lot of players left at the beginning of the season, but the young lads have proved that the team is certainly no-sinking ship. It's been an up and down season - it was a shame about Solanki and we better not mention the Clydesdake Bank 40 - but if Worcester continue to play like this we'll be able to upset even more disrepeactful reporters than this one.

  • David on August 20, 2010, 10:42 GMT

    Lets face it Batty looks an unpleasent individual whose aggression towards batsman and, it seems, crowds are uncalled for and look awful. He represents the football style cricketer we now see everywhere. I would also totally disregard what Adams says about anything, he trotts out cliches and management speak adnauseam. Respect is something that has got to be earnt and it would appear that in many peoples eyes Batty is not deserving of any. If cricketers behave like footballers, want foofballers wages then cricket will attract a football type supporter and lets face it the ECB is doing all it can to make cricket like football in the commercial sense. Be careful what you wish for. However if some knuckleheads did abuse his parents that is clearly out of order but again we do not know what they said?

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