2020 Player Reviews: Plunkett to Virdi

Published: 23rd October, 2020

Surrey’s 2020 season saw us struggle to get going in red-ball cricket before a sweep of momentum in T20 cricket carried us all the way to the showpiece final.

We take a look at the how each player did in the truncated summer.

Although COVID-19 ensured only two months of cricket were possible this year, an intense schedule saw an incredible amount played over August & September.

Surrey managed one victory from five Bob Willis Trophy clashes but then a run of nine consecutive wins carried us through the South Group and to Vitality Blast Finals Day before a heartbreaking defeat to Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston earlier this month.

Below we’ll look at the final set of players listed alphabetically in our squad and the impact they had on the side this year.

You can read last week’s look back at Rory Burns through to the Curran brothers here & then Matt Dunn to Ryan Patel via the likes of Will Jacks, Laurie Evans & Daniel Moriarty.

LIAM PLUNKETT

After a frustrating injury kept the seamer out of much of the Bob Willis Trophy and the early stages of the Vitality Blast, he was keen to make an impact once he was able to. Seven wickets in six matches as part of our run to the T20 final, including star turns against Kent and a stunning 3/12 in the reduced semi-final against Gloucestershire made exactly that impact.

Working as part of an exciting bowling attack, Plunkett focused on executing all of the variations that have made him so successful on the international. Slower balls, cutters, bouncers, yorkers. Batsmen rarely had an answer.

OLLIE POPE

The international bubbles & a shoulder injury meant we didn’t see Ollie pull on the Three Feathers this summer. Now cemented in the England Test side with a Central Contract for the next 12 months, we can’t wait to see what’s to come in our academy graduate’s future.

NICO REIFER

Taking your first steps into professional county cricket is a tough leap at the best of the times, never mind with everything 2020 has brought. Reifer will have felt the absence of 2nd team cricket this year more than most, too.

The batting all-rounder, on a rookie contract for this year, has been a constant presence around the squad and will have gained a lot from the experience.

Now he’ll be hoping for a settled summer and subsequently some playing time in 2021.

You can read last week’s look back at Rory Burns through to the Curran brothers here & then Matt Dunn to Ryan Patel via the likes of Will Jacks, Laurie Evans & Daniel Moriarty.

JASON ROY

Six ODIs, three against Ireland and three against Australia, kept Roy from us for much of the early knockings. Once he did return to The Kia Oval however, he slotted back in at the top of the order and led Surrey to the Vitality Blast final. In just five matches he hit 206 runs with a high score of 72 and shared some outstanding partnerships with Laurie Evans in particular.

In just 157 balls faced in the competition he hit 29 boundaries and raced to become the team’s fourth highest scorer despite missing eight matches.

JAMIE SMITH

Five Bob Willis Trophy appearances and nine Vitality Blast matches meant a busy period for the 20-year-old. He hit 89 runs in the T20 competition, including a match winning 38 not out in the low scoring nailbiter with Middlesex at The Kia Oval.

In the red-ball stuff, Smith was Surrey’s top scorer with 274 at an average of 30.44. This came in addition to taking the gloves during the enforced absence of Ben Foakes through international duty.

MARK STONEMAN

Awarded the captaincy for three matches in the Bob Willis Trophy with Rory Burns away on international duty, Stoneman scored 106 runs in eight innings.

JAMES TAYLOR

Having signed from Derbyshire in the winter, Taylor roomed with fellow youngsters Nicholas Kimber, Daniel Moriarty & Nico Reifer this year. The right-arm seamer got his opportunity straight off the bat and played in three Bob Willis Trophy fixtures taking four wickets amongst those were Essex & Sussex captains Tom Westley and Ben Brown.

As well as that, Taylor featured in two Vitality Blast fixtures at the beginning of the competition.

You can read last week’s look back at Rory Burns through to the Curran brothers here & then Matt Dunn to Ryan Patel via the likes of Will Jacks, Laurie Evans & Daniel Moriarty.

REECE TOPLEY

After a seismic personal moment earlier in his summer, when he returned to the international scene following all of his injury issues in recent years, Topley came into the Surrey side and had a huge impact on getting Surrey to the Vitality Blast final.

40 overs from his 11 appearances and 15 wickets, just two fewer than leading wicket taker Daniel Moriarty. His stand out performance came against his old side Hampshire, where he claimed 4/20 as our hosts were restricted to 138/8 from their 20 overs.

AMAR VIRDI

After the call to join the initial ECB training group following the most intense period of lockdown in the spring, Virdi continued to impress throughout the Bob Willis Trophy. He ended up as Surrey’s leading wicket taker with 22 scalps from his five matches. He was also worked the hardest as the only bowler to send down more than 100 overs with a red ball, notching up a mammoth 179 overs.

The off-spinner will be keen to ensure he takes every future opportunity to impress those watching on from the ECB.

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