Surrey will be led into this year’s Royal London One Day Cup by Assistant Head Coach Richard Johnson – stepping up whilst Vikram Solanki works on The Hundred.
Johnson, 46, joined the Club as an Assistant Coach in 2018, coming over from Middlesex where he had worked as a Bowling Coach since 2011 – including Middlesex’s Championship triumph of 2016 – and was acting Head Coach for a large part of his final summer.
Since arriving at The Kia Oval, he has played a key role in the Club’s coaching setup, working alongside Solanki as well as Fielding Coach Chris Taylor, player/coach Gareth Batty, Academy Director Gareth Townsend and Director of Cricket, Alec Stewart – as well as Lead Physio Alex Tysoe and Head of Strength and Conditioning Darren Veness.
Throughout his playing career with Middlesex and then Somerset, Johnson played 166 first-class, 194 One Day and nine T20 matches, taking 755 wickets (including all ten wickets in an innings against Derbyshire in 1994) and earning himself three Test Matches and ten One Day Internationals for England. He was also a highly effective lower-order batsman, scoring two first-class centuries amidst 3,545 first-class runs.
A popular member of the Surrey dressing room, Johnson is known for his undemonstrative nature and cuts a quiet presence on the training ground, preferring to watch and listen to players and wait for the right moment to make a key impact.
With Solanki recruited by Oval Invincibles – alongside Kent Head Coach Matt Walker – to support former Australia international Tom Moody in The Hundred, Johnson is getting a second opportunity to step up to the top level.
This will begin with Surrey’s trip to Scarborough to play Yorkshire and continue throughout late July and August, initially culminating in the visit to Derby – where Johnson will hope that qualification is secured for the knockout stages which are set to start just two days later, on Saturday August 14th.
For the victorious counties, that will be followed by semi-finals and the final – now held at Trent Bridge – the following week – with the competition set to climax on Thursday August 19th.
Although Surrey will be missing eleven players because of Hundred commitments, Johnson will still have experienced international cricketers such as Hashim Amla, Mark Stoneman and, when he recovers from the shoulder injury that has prevented him from featuring in Scarborough, Rikki Clarke to help him offer leadership to what will inevitably be a series of very young sides.
To this end, his squad also includes some of the most exciting young talent at the Club with top order batsman Jamie Smith looking to follow up his excellent Vitality Blast campaign and the likes of Dan Moriarty, Ryan Patel, Gus Atkinson, Conor McKerr and Ben Geddes also keen to build on good performances earlier in the season.
There will also be opportunities for players who have so far only featured for the Surrey Second XI this term with Taylor, Nico Reifer, Nick Kimber all looking for their first taste of First XI action this calendar.
Finally, there is the continuing Singaporean all-rounder Tim David, the recently arrived all-round talents of Cameron Steel and the ever popular and hardworking Amar Virdi – still yet to represent Surrey in a white ball fixture – who is likely to finally get the opportunity to start working on the second line of his career averages.
There is a great deal of unpredictability in the country at the moment – and the Royal London One Day Cup is harder to pick than ever because of it – but one thing that can be guaranteed is that Johnson and his team will have their sights firmly set on being the first country to raise the trophy at Trent Bridge come mid-August.