An astonishing letter, sent by Roger Harman, the Chairman of Cricket at Surrey:
This season's performances have been very disappointing and well below the expectations of all of us.'
BOTTOM of the County Championship, BOTTOM of the Twenty20 Cup South Division, second form BOTTOM of the Friends Provident Trophy South East Division.
'Our philosophy within Surrey Cricket has been to grow from within – to bring on promising players who have been developed through the age group squads, the Surrey Academy and on to achieve professional contracts. We have been successful in this in the past, and we have maintained this policy in recent years.'
Hang on – how the hell does that explain the parachuting in of forty-year-old Chris Lewis on a big fat contract to play T20 this summer? Figures of Played 1, Innings 1, Runs 2, Average 2 doesn’t quite tally with the policy of 'bringing on promising players.'
'Unfortunately we find ourselves in a situation whereby this policy has not brought us success.'
See league stats above.
'As your Chairman of Cricket, I deeply regret that Surrey have not fulfilled the expectations of our Members and supporters. I believe our performances so far this season are not acceptable.'
There's some honesty for you.
'The Chairman of the Club, the Chief Executive and myself, together with other members of the General Committee, are considering detailed options in respect of the future strategy for cricket.'
'We have to build a squad capable of success in the County Championship and at the same time provide players for England. The development of Twenty20, with two competitions from 2010, means that we also have to ensure that we can be successful in this form of the game.'
And here’s precisely where the County game is going to overstretch itself as it sells its soul to the Sky TV money men. Comparing the four-day game with T20 is like comparing a fine wine with a cold cup of tea. Both are on sale in the Surrey pavilion.
Is there really a marketaudience for two T20 competitions? There's only so much of the slog fest that the City Boys can take. The proposed T20 League will clash with the start of the football season in August, just when the City Boys who pack out The Oval will be forking out their thousands on Chelsea season tickets.
'I am meeting with you on 21st August at the Chairman's evening after the end of play. As this is part of the way through a match and with the season having a few more weeks too run, it will not be possible to go into too much detail at this stage, but it will be helpful to hear your views.'
Butch looks safe then until at least the close of play in the Sussex match on Saturday.
'The Club is planning a further Members evening very shortly after the final match of the season, and this will give me a greater opportunity to set out plans for the future.'
'I would emphasise again that we take the current situation with the utmost seriousness and would ask for your patience as we plan our future.'
Roger Harman Chairman of Cricket
At least our Rodge is being open and honest. Surrey are simply paying the price now for a decade of investing in international cricket, at the expense of overlooking the County game. The OCS Stand is rather special, but it's only ever full for five days of the year when the Test match comes to town.
Fighting relegation from the top tier of the County Championship will be considered a success for Surrey this season. Can't say I'm celebrating.