County news April 8, 2010

Adams backs raw Hamilton-Brown

Chris Adams, the Surrey coach, has admitted throwing a huge "curve ball" in the appointment of Rory Hamilton-Brown as the club captain but believes the 22-year-old has all the skills needed to succeed in the demanding role.

The return of Hamilton-Brown to his first county to take up the skipper's armband was one of the major talking points of the winter after he was enticed away from Sussex. He is the youngest captain on the domestic scene and has just eight first-class matches to his name as he takes on the task of leading Surrey out of the doldrums.

Although Hamilton-Brown has led all the age-group sides he has played in, as well as county second XI teams, the job of taking control at a county the size of Surrey is a daunting one for a player who is still trying to establish a career. However, Adams insisted he will be able to handle the role.

"When I presented Rory's men [to the club] it was probably a big a curve ball as they have had, but they all saw the potential in him," Adams said. "It was presented to the committee and was probably biggest curve ball they've had as well, but it received a unanimous positive yes vote.

"Speaking from 11 years of experience in that type of role you need certain attributes and certain skills which not everyone has. I identified very early on when I met this young man when he came to Sussex that those skills were there in abundance.

"With the departure of Mark Butcher last year it was clear this was a very big position and big boots to fill. You look around at your options and something kept coming back to me, his name kept coming back."

Hamilton-Brown led Surrey in the warm-up match against Cambridge MCCU last week and on the pre-season tour of Dubai, but his first serious match starts on Friday with the opening Championship game against Derbyshire at The Oval. There are a number of big-name players at Surrey including fellow winter recruits Steven Davies and Gareth Batty along with stalwart Mark Rampraksh and Hamilton-Brown will have to earn their trust and confidence.

"He's finding out that life isn't that straightforward and simple and that there are a great deal of aspects to the job," Adams said. "My job is to give him the very best chance to succeeding when he walks out there. He's got the attributes to lead the team and make the tactical calls. If I didn't believe that he would go on and have a fantastic career he wouldn't be sat here."

Hamilton-Brown knows he has taken on a mammoth task and accepts there is much for him to learn. "To captain your home county is a dream come true," he said. "I haven't played a huge amount and have a lot to learn. There are two aspects - my cricket and then the captaincy. I will have to learn the captaincy but am pretty confident I can do it and will give everything I can to make it a success."

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo