Defeat 'hurts like hell' but Batty sees Surrey's progress

Gareth Batty branded Surrey's performance 'unacceptable' and 'embarrassing' as they slumped to an eight-wicket defeat with almost 20 overs left unused in the Royal London Cup final at Lord's

Surrey lost 8 for 37 to see their hopes of silverware evaporate  •  Getty Images

Surrey lost 8 for 37 to see their hopes of silverware evaporate  •  Getty Images

Gareth Batty branded Surrey's performance "unacceptable" and "embarrassing" as they slumped to an eight-wicket defeat with almost 20 overs left unused in the Royal London Cup final at Lord's.
Batty, Surrey's captain, admitted his side had "not turned up" as they succumbed to their second Lord's final defeat in successive years. Collapsing from 99 for 2 to 136 all out, they gave themselves little chance of defending such a meagre total against a Warwickshire team including players such as Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell.
"To lose in this manner is a little bit embarrassing," Batty said. "We have not really turned up today. We just got it wrong and it hurts like hell."
This was, not for the first time, a disappointing surface for a major match at Lord's. There are mitigating factors: the redevelopment of the Warner Stand necessitated the use of pitches towards the bottom of the square at the start of the season - they usually start at the top end here - resulting in some overly safe pitches in early season and some unusually dry ones towards the end.
Meanwhile, the decision to televise the Championship decider between Middlesex and Yorkshire from the ground next week has forced them to press another mid-square surface for that game. With the ground relentlessly busy and the square exhausted, the groundstaff were left struggling for options.
This pitch, then, had already been used for an ODI this season and had been glued to ensure it did not break up. That is unusual at Lord's and resulted in neither side knowing quite what might constitute a par score. The way Surrey started -with Jason Roy, in particular, unleashing some magnificent strokes - it appeared 280 might be on the cards but, as the pitch slowed and Warwickshire's bowlers began to gain spin and seam assistance, the relatively inexperienced middle-order failed to adjust.
It was not easy, though. Jeetan Patel, bowling noticeably quicker than either of Surrey's England spinners, was markedly the best potent of the slow bowlers on display. Gaining sharp turn at times, he built pressure in a masterful spell that was well supported by Ateeq Javid's own waspish spin and Oliver Hannon-Dalby's control and variations. And, with Tim Ambrose taking a sharp stumping off a leg-side wide and Laurie Evans taking an outrageously good catch to end Roy's dangerous innings, Surrey were allowed no release.
Batty refused to blame the surface, though. "We're not blaming the pitch, absolutely not," he said. "We've no one to blame but ourselves.
"It was obviously a tired surface, but it certainly wasn't a 136 all out surface. We just didn't adapt to what was put in front of us unfortunately and they bowled well in the conditions. We were around 90 odd for 2 so to be 136 all out was not acceptable."
This defeat will sting Surrey. But, trophy or not, they can console themselves with the knowledge that they are a club progressing nicely. Not only have they achieved a respectable finish in the upper half of the Championship table - a decent effort for a recently promoted side - but, by the time the ECB finish naming their squads for tours this winter, they will have contributed 10 players to various teams.
Their youth system also contributed nine (10 if you include Gareth Batty, who left Yorkshire for the club while still a teenager and say he considers himself "absolutely a product of Surrey") players to the two sides here, with Evans and Rikki Clarke having started their careers at the club. Yes, they use their financial might at times. But they produce players, too.
"The club have made progress," Batty said. "We're not the finished article but when we do become that, we'll be the finished article for quite a long time because of the age of the squad and the quality we have in different positions in the squad.
"We dropped off a cliff today, but we've played good consistent cricket in this competition. In the Championship we had a real purple patch in the middle when we played some excellent cricket and challenged the best teams in the country and some wonderful players. We didn't start well and had we started better who knows where we would have been. In Twenty20 we missed out on qualifying for the quarter-finals by a point, so we're not a million miles away.
"We've played some very, very good cricket. When these young lads do get picked for England they'll be ready to go."
There is a wider context, too. After defeating Somerset here in 2011 to win the CB40 final, the club went through a wretched period that saw the team shattered by the death of Tom Maynard. Life will never be quite the same for any of those that were at the club at the time but there is a bond between many of these young players that will not easily be broken. Certainly they have faced far greater setbacks than the loss of a cricket match.
"Some of this group went through some horrible times a few years ago," Batty said. "So you can be relatively philosophical at times. Sometimes it can be straightforward a bit more bat and ball, but it doesn't feel like that right now. This group of players know they can be together for a very long time and they should be thinking that this is just the start of opportunities.
"Sometimes you can lose with dignity. I hope we lost with dignity and we allowed Warwickshire to enjoy what was a very fine performance. Hopefully we become better people and men because of that."
Batty's on-field persona is not to everyone's taste. But, as he signed autographs - he gave his runners-up medal to one young fan - and apologised to supporters, it was a reminder that he has shepherded this club through some dark days with a calm head and a strong constitution. That the club - and its crop of young players - can now look forward to a bright future is, in no small part, thanks to him. Long after he has gone, they will owe him plenty.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo