Solanki: I'm fortunate to coach this group - Kia Oval Skip to main content

Surrey Head Coach Vikram Solanki is grateful to his players for the work they have put in over a long winter and feels they are perfectly placed ahead of the 2021 season.

Speaking to Mark Church during this week’s internal warm-up fixture, Solanki spoke of the effort that has gone on within the Club to ensure as much preparation as possible can go into the 2021 season. Now, less than two weeks until the LV= County Championship begins, he is excited to get going with the competitive action.

He said: “For all of the tough periods over the last year, for all of the wins we had in 2020, it very much makes me realise how fortunate I am to be involved with this group of players.

“They’ve worked extremely hard and we’ll continue to work hard throughout the season to try and get the best out of them.

“It’s that we’ve been able to practice and the boys have been able to play cricket. A lot of the players made the point during the internal match that the fact they’ve been able to play is great while in comparison to other parts of society they have been restricted. That in itself has been brilliant for the lads.

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“From a cricket point of view, we’ve had a proper build up to the season. Hopefully these games coming up against Sussex & Middlesex will allow a proper build up to a full season.”

Reflecting on a mixed 2020 season that saw Surrey reach the Vitality Blast final but win just one of five first-class fixtures in Solanki’s first few months in the role all while the world was rocked by a global pandemic, Solanki felt there was plenty to carry through to 2021.

“We were pleased with how we managed to turn things around,” he said.

“There’s no getting away from the fact that we were certainly weren’t as good as we should have been in our Bob Willis Trophy campaign. Our T20 campaign was an entirely different animal all together.

“It was exciting to see some young fellas stick their hand up when given the opportunity. We played well and to a plan that helped us to a good run, it was just a shame we fell at the last hurdle.”

The 2021 season sees eight weeks of LV= County Championship action before the Vitality Blast starts. The final two matches in the first stage of the red-ball competition come in the middle of that T20 group stage but Solanki is grateful that the relative sectioning of formats allows for more detailed planning.

“It’s as close to blocking as we’ve got and it does allow you to prepare well. It also allows us to think of player availability because that obviously impacts us quite a bit with our contingent of England players.

“When the Test boys are away, we have some of the white-ball boys around and vice versa. It allows for better planning as far as that is concerned. It’s all planned in our minds so if we can keep everybody fit it makes for an exciting start to the season.”

Hashim Amla will join the squad shortly while the second overseas player in the first two months of the campaign will be West Indies pace bowler Kemar Roach. Roach, currently impressing for the Windies against Sri Lanka, will fly to London following the completion of the second Test and may be available for our LV= County Championship opener with Gloucestershire.

“It was just felt that a senior figure amongst the group of very capable bowlers would be the right addition. We’ve got a very good pack of bowlers but injuries are always a concern so if we have somebody of the quality of Kemar Roach around, not only on the field but for his experience. He approaches bowling in a slightly different way as well.

“All of those things went into the thinking behind this signing.”

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