The Club’s new captain/coach combination of Rory Burns and Gareth Batty might share a surname beginning with B, but they are both confident of bringing their A game this season.
Batty, the Club’s Twenty20 captain just last year, was appointed Interim Head Coach as Vikram Solanki took up an IPL coaching post, and both Azhar Mahmood and Jim Troughton have been appointed to support him for this season.
Asked whether this rapid promotion would faze Batty, Burns says: “It might have come sooner than he expected but he’s been brilliant. His energy around the room, his knowledge of the game… I was his vice-captain for a few years and it’s a great dynamic.”
Batty himself adds: “I’ve always enjoyed coaching. I think from a management style it will be similar to Vikram in some ways but I have to do it my way. And it’s great to get Jim Troughton here, it’s a massive coup for the Club. He has wealth of knowledge and a great way of dealing with players. And with Azhar, we’ve got all bases covered – he knows all facets of the game and has worked with the elite for a good period of time.”
Of the season itself, Surrey’s skipper explains: “In pre-season the lads were hitting and bowling a lot earlier than we would normally have done, we’ve got some really good work done. And we’ve got six games back-to-back to focus on Championship cricket. We’ve got a hungry squad and we’re looking forward to getting going.”
And Batty concludes: “There is that hunger. Covid is, touch wood, something we can move on from and we can now see that ruthless nature in the players because they can work harder and longer. And we need to be there for Rory, our leader. I think he’s the best opener in the country. I want him to get back in to that England team and nail it down. We’ve historically been slow starters so we have tweaked a few things to try and stop that being the case, and we’re hopefully ready to go.”