Tuesday, 16 September 2014
Surrey v Derbyshire day 2: Harvey Hosein: record-breaker
Especially, I'm sure, from the perspective of Mr H. Hosein. I'm not sure if the lad is writing the script for this game, but if he is, sometime after tea tomorrow he will make a composed, unbeaten thirty to steer us to a win.
251 to do so. Not easy, on a wicket that has seen 30 wickets go down in two days, but not impossible, given the innings played by Wayne Madsen and Jason Roy. One of our batsmen, or a couple of them, has to harness technique and courage tomorrow, the latter in being unafraid to play shots and steer us to a win on a wicket where yours could be in danger at any point. It isn't treacherous and to be fair it's the type of track that first-class cricket needs, far more than some of the moribund ones elsewhere.
The game mirrors that of last season quite closely. If you remember, Surrey chased down 218 in the final innings and got them for the loss of six wickets, largely thanks to an innings of international quality from Hasim Amla. We have the players who could play such an innings and it would be an ideal opportunity for Cheteshwar Pujara to show his worth. He's not got going yet, but he is here for the experience and at this stage it doesn't matter too much...though a contribution to a win would do very nicely tomorrow.
Our innings came to a somewhat premature end today, with no contribution of note, other than that of the skipper. He needs 33 runs tomorrow to reach a thousand in the county championship, a fine effort, though tellingly if our side all batted to their season average tomorrow we will end up 22 runs short. Read into that as you will.
So someone needs to step it up and I hope they do so. We've done well in this game and controlled it for large periods, but lost control for a while this afternoon and I hope that doesn't come back to bite us. The wickets were shared out nicely between seam and spin, with special mention for Alex Hughes for breaking through when it looked like Surrey were getting away with their third wicket pair. He bowled a tight spell and did a good job for the side, as he may need to do tomorrow with the bat. Ben Cotton also confirmed his positive impression and there are terrific signs coming from our young players.
Of course, I can close in no other way than with Harvey Hosein (pictured). One game into his first-class career he stands astride the record books, leaving giants like Bob Taylor, Harry Elliott and George Dawkes in his slipstream. Not to mention Karl Krikken, who, with Howard Dytham, mentored him from a tender age.
It was both gratifying and, at the same time, worrying to see him named in a poll on Cricinfo today entitled "Which bright young thing from 2014 excites you most for the future?" I don't wish to rain on the parade, but isn't that a tad premature after one game?
By all accounts he kept very well and the video footage confirmed that he has a very good pair of hands and he takes a ball undemonstratively, in similar style to Bob Taylor. Yet let's not lose sight of the fact that any wicket-keeper can only take what comes his way and in that respect he was well served by the Derbyshire bowlers. Of yesterday's catches, six were regulation, the leg-side take from Batty's glance highly impressive.
He will keep better, in all likelihood and barely feature in the score book. Such is the beauty of the game and I write the above not to be a party pooper, but to ensure that the lad doesn't fall victim to the kind of advance publicity that he really doesn't need at this stage of his career. There are those out there who will think him a failure if he doesn't do that again sometime soon...
Yet I am thrilled for the lad. He is a terrific talent and I remember watching him dive around for balls hit by Howard Dytham in the nets a couple of summers back. His handling was as impressive as his stature, or lack of it, at that stage and it was obvious that with proper coaching he was headed in the right direction.
He will push Tom Poynton all the way for the first-team gloves next summer and that is perfect from the team's perspective, as it will keep both men on their toes. But for now he can help us win the game tomorrow then sit down and reflect on one simple fact.
After 144 years of club history, it has taken him one match to enter into the record books.
Well done son. You've earned the right to be proud, as I'm sure your family and team mates are tonight.