It might be his double-barrelled name, his prominent cheekbones or the fact that he was handpicked to become – at 22- Surrey’s youngest captain for 138 years but life seems too easy for Rory Hamilton-Brown. A crisp-hitting middle-order batsman and steady offspin bowler Hamilton-Brown is a gifted cricketer not far from international interest.
Though a spot in England’s limited-overs sides looks in reach, Hamilton-Brown has said captaining his boyhood county, Surrey, to the Championship title is as much an ambition as international selection at this stage. It was not easy initially when Chris Adams, Surrey’s coach, recruited Hamilton-Brown from Sussex to become captain. He was entering a dressing room with some volatile and sceptical senior pros but after a steady first season in charge, Hamilton-Brown led Surrey both to the CB40 title and promotion up to the first division.
That was enough to settle questions about his leadership. The captaincy did, by his own assessment, set him back a touch but he remains a positive strokemaker, ever keen to take the aggressive route. He blossomed as a limited-overs opener and is now prospering in the middle-order in four-day cricket.
Hamilton Brown, another product of Millfield School, also played rugby union for Harlequins and England juniors. Cricket, though his where his pedigree lies. His godfather is Dennis Amiss and Hamilton-Brown had been associated with Surrey throughout his formative years. He made his second XI debut in 2004 as a 16-year-old, scoring 84 against Sussex. Sensing limited opportunities in a Surrey side that was packed with gnarled seniors, Hamilton-Brown moved to Sussex in 2008 where he prospered under Chris Adams’ guidance. That partnership was revived in 2010 when Adams – by now Surrey coach – brought him back to Surrey as captain.
Arun Harinath is a top-order batsman who has been involved with Surrey since the age of nine but has never quite managed to nail down a first-team spot. He graduated from the Surrey Academy in 2006 and was awarded a contract with the senior team for the 2007. Making his second XI debut in 2003, Harinath showed his full potential in 2006 by completing his maiden second XI century against Nottinghamshire with 157. He finished the season with an impressive average of just below 40 and featured in all but two of Surrey’s matches in the Championship.
In 2005 he was selected in ECB Development of Excellence XI squad to play against Sri Lanka Under-19s and in the winter of 2005-06 played Sydney Grade Cricket for Randwick Petersham. Yet despite occasional moments of success he has never delivered consistently enough to command a regular place in the side.
Rory Burns is a left-handed wicketkeeper batsman for Surrey. He has played Second XI cricket for Hampshire but is on Surrey’s books as an understudy to first-choice Steve Davies and Gary Wilson. He made his first-class debut in 2011 against Cambridge MCCU but was dismissed by Surrey team-mate Zafar Ansari. He had a much happier return a year later in the university game against Leeds/Bradford MCCU an unbeaten 101.
Jack-in-the-box allrounder Gareth Batty had to jink around to find a regular first-team spot. Born in Bradford, he played for Yorkshire in 1997 before moving south to try his luck with Surrey. The young man then went west to Worcester, for whom he took 56 wickets with his offspin (and biffed 491 runs) in 2002. That won him a spot at the England Academy in Adelaide in 2002-03, and the selectors sent for him as they cast around for reinforcements during that winter’s injury-plagued tour of Australia. Batty played two one-day internationals in Australia, impressing with his tight lines and feisty fielding, and with that in mind he was included in England’s 14-man squad for the 2004 Champions Trophy. Doubts persisted about whether he turned it enough to trouble Test batsmen, but he was nevertheless selected for England’s trip to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in 2003. It was an eventful tour – he came close to drowning in a surfing accident in Galle, and at times struggled to keep his head above water with the ball. His batting against Muttiah Muralitharan, on the other hand, was a revelation, and he was instrumental in saving back-to-back Tests at Galle and Kandy. However, since then his chances have been limited to the occasional stand-in role, most notably during the Test in Antigua when Brian Lara reached 400. Despite consistent seasons for Worcestershire he was overtaken by other spinners, but was briefly recalled to the one-day squad to face West Indies in 2009. Not content with the ambition shown at Worcestershire he made himself available to switch counties in the 2009 summer and was snapped up on a sizeable deal by Surrey. He has had success as a senior pro in a youthful Surrey team but had an unfortunate return for Surrey to New Road where he was heckled by the crowd. Steven Lynch
Steven Davies is one of a glut of England wicketkeeper batsmen vying for a spot at international level. In a short international limited-overs career he has felt the benefit and pain the merry-go-round selection policy that England wicketkeepers have been subjected to. He made a surprise international debut in a Twenty20 against West Indies in Trinidad in 2009 but was soon replaced by Craig Kieswetter as England went on to lift the World Twenty20 in 2010.
Davies then replaced Kieswetter in the 50-over side and travelled to Australia in 2010-11 as England’s first-choice wicketkeeper in limited-overs cricket and back-up to Matt Prior in the Test squad. Just two games into the seven-match ODI that series that preceded the World Cup, Davies was unexpectedly dumped out of the team and replaced by Matt Prior who went on to the World Cup without much success.
Davies remains in the frame, however, having long been earmarked as a player with England potential. It was clear he had talent when he finished above Graeme Hick in the Worcestershire averages in his debut season in 2005, and he was selected for the National Academy and toured the West Indies with England A that winter. A former England Under-19 captain, Davies has impressed everyone who has come across him and, vitally, his glovework is an excellent standard. At the end of the 2009 season, sensing a need to challenge himself, Davies moved from Worcestershire to Surrey where he has been given the responsibility of batting in the top order.
A stylish left-handed batsman, he is particularly fluent through the offside but his tendency to hit the ball in the air has prevented him from nailing down an international position. In 2011 he became the first playing professional to come out as gay and was warmly supported by the wider sporting community for doing so.
Zander de Bruyn
Zander de Bruyn is reminiscent of the late Hansie Cronje at the crease; tall and elegant, the purveyor of crunching drives, but also with a question mark over his ability against fast, short-pitched bowling. And he is a useful medium-paced bowler to boot – able to break partnerships or keep an end tight for a lengthy period. In 2003-04, he emulated the great Barry Richards, by becoming only the second player in South African domestic cricket history to score 1000 runs in a SuperSport Series or Currie Cup season. Although he excelled at schoolboy level, de Bruyn’s career never really got off the ground until he moved to Easterns in 2002, where he joined forces with their ultra-competitive coach – and newly-appointed national team mentor – Ray Jennings. That season, he played a huge role in an improbable Series victory, averaging 60 and scoring 169 in the final as Easterns overturned a first-innings deficit against the international-strength Western Province attack, and he has gone from strength to strength ever since, until earning a call-up for the Test tour of India in November 2004. Despite scoring 83 on debut, he was dropped after only two Tests. He played once more for South Africa in a defeat to England in 2004, the same game AB De Villiers and Dale Steyn made their Test debuts. That was enough for de Bruyn to abandon international hopes and throw his lot in with county cricket as a Kolpack. He joined Worcestershire in 2005 without much success initially before moving to Somerset in 2008 where he established himself as a valuable senior player. Surrey signed him in 2010 having played domestic cricket in England long enough is now eligible for a British passport.
Matt Dunn is a right-arm pacemen who has played Under-19 cricket for England. A product of Surrey’s youth system he made his county debut as a 19-year-old in 2011, staring with 5 for 56 to help Surrey to a seven-wicket win against Derbyshire. He is part of a strong pack of quick bowlers at Surrey so may have to bide his time for opportunities but has impressed whenever given the chance. He had a good tour of Bangladesh for England Under-19s in October 2009, claiming six wickets in the series.
Jade Dernbach is a very modern cricketer. Earrings on both ears, tattoos covering each arm and words to accompany each delivery. His bowling is a merry-go-round of variations with slower-balls, quicker slower-balls, yorkers, bouncers but crucially an ability to touch 90mph. His variety alongside a deep-well of confidence that helps him hold his nerve has made him a regular part of England’s limited-overs teams but he is ‘desperate’ to make the jump to Test cricket.
His accent reflects a journeyed background. Born in South Africa but a graduate of the Surrey Academy, Dernbach became Surrey’s youngest debutant for 30 years when – at the age of 17 – he played against India A in 2003. In 2005 he was thrust into the spotlight when selected to play against Lancashire in the semi-final of the Twenty20 cup, although with figures of 0 for 52, he was clearly under-prepared. His first-team chances were limited thereafter, although he showed some potential in the seconds, claiming 46 wickets at 25 to finish the 2006 season as the Surrey’s leading wicket-taker. A spell in Australia, playing grade cricket in Sydney for Randwick/Petersham, helped to improve his allround game, and his first hint of international recognition came in 2009 when he was called up to the ECB Fast Bowling Programme in Florida and Chennai. He was part of the Performance squad during the Ashes winter in 2010-11, and was playing in the Caribbean for England Lions when he heard of his call-up to the World Cup squad, as a replacement for Ajmal Shahzad. Though he didn’t play in England’s disappointing campaign he made his T20 and ODI debuts the following summer and established himself as an important part of the side.
George Edwards is an exciting quick-bowling prospect. A product of Surrey’s youth system he part of a strong pack of quick bowlers but has caught attention for his ability to bowl quick. After a strong showing in second XI cricket through 2010 and 2011 he made his Championship debut aged 19 against Worcestershire in 2012. Though he needs to add control to his pace he is one to keep an eye on.
Tom Jewell is a bean-pole pace-bowling allrounder who played for Guildford before graduating from Surrey’s academy and signing for the club in 2010. He made his first-class debut in 2008 against Leeds/Bradford MCCU but had to wait two years for his Championship debut which came against Northamptonshire. Though he remains someway away from regular first-team cricket he has time on his side.
Chris Jordan has been an exciting prospect at Surrey ever since Nadeem Shahid, the second XI coach, saw five minutes of his allround ability. Shahid immediately called then coach Alan Butcher to tell him they had a gem on their books. Five days later Jordan was at first team nets. He impressed there and blazed into Surrey’s team at the end of the season, looking the part immediately. Since that hugely promising start injuries and inconsistency have stalled his career and he missed the entire 2010 season with a back problem.
Jordan’s talent first came to light in his native Barbados, where he was spotted by Bill Athey, who was scouting for a recipient of a cricket scholarship back in England at Dulwich College. He could play for England – and would be eligible through his English grandmother who lives in Hertfordshire – but his heart is also with West Indies. Yet before that becomes a choice he has to find consistency with the ball, runs with the bat and peace with his body.
A left-arm spinner in the classical mould, Murali Kartik had long been on the fringes of the national team without sealing a regular place. He has a high-arm action straight from the coaching manual, and possesses all the weapons in his armoury. But he hasn’t always had the breaks and played the understudy to Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh for most of his career. He came close to selection during India’s disastrous tour of England in 2011 but Amit Mishra was preferred.
Kartik forced his way into the Indian team in 1999-2000 after impressive performances in the domestic games, but didn’t seem to enjoy Sourav Ganguly’s confidence and was either used as a defensive option or underbowled. He made his mark as a one-day bowler against West Indies in 2002-03, consistently keeping the batsmen in check on flat pitches. However, his best moment clearly came at Mumbai, against Australia in 2004-05 when he ran through the Australian batting on a dustbowl, taking seven wickets in the match to bowl India to a famous win. However he got to play just one Test more before being consigned to the periphery. He has prospered, however, in English domestic cricket. A stint with Middlesex in 2007 brought him back into contention and his 12 wickets at 20.75 from eight Pro40 games allowed him to break back into the Indian one-day side in the middle of the seven-match series against Australia in October 2007. He was part of Middlesex’s Twenty20-winning squad in 2008 and, uniquely, the only player in the world to play in the IPL and Stanford 20/20 in the inaugural season. Since then he enjoyed a successful spell at Somerset before signing for Surrey ahead of the 2011 season. S Rajesh
Tom Lancefield is a left-handed batsman who has played age-group cricket at Surrey since Under-9s. He was nearly a professional rugby player but chose to focus on cricket. He forced his way into Surrey’s first team in 2010, making a decent start to his Championship career. He spent the following winter playing first-class cricket for Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club in Sri Lanka but had his 2011 season restricted to one game through injury.
The tall seamer Tim Linley was a graduate of the MCC’S UCCE programme, and represented British Universities in 2004. He joined Sussex for the 2006 season but after playing just one match, against Sri Lanka, he was released and headed northwards to Surrey. It took him some time to establish a first-team place, but survived Chris Adams’ clear-out and in 2010 began to find more opportunities on offer as Surrey rebuilt their standing in the domestic game. In a squad packed with pacier talent, Linley’s line bowling proved very useful and he helped Surrey win promotion in 2011 with his best season, taking 73 first-class wickets at 18.34.
Jason Roy was attracting rave reviews before he turned 20 as a prodigiously talented schoolboy cricketer for Whitgift School and represented Surrey from all age-group levels since Under-11s. Born in South Africa he came to the UK aged 10 and soon started to move through the system. He made his Surrey debut as a 17-year-old in 2008 during the Twenty20 Cup and his fielding talents were noticed by England who used him as a sub later that summer against South Africa. Despite consistent performances in the Surrey second XI it wasn’t until the 2010 that he broke into the first team again. One Twenty20 innings made everyone stand up and take notice as he slammed 101 off 57 balls against Kent at Beckenham. Later in the summer he made his Championship debut and he proceeded to score an unbeaten 76 from 65 balls against Leicestershire. His success was enough to alert England’s selectors who gave him a place on the Performance Programme tour to India before the England Lions tour to Sri Lanka in early 2012.
With an unbeaten 222 in his debut Test innings, Jacques Rudolph vindicated those who believed that he had been a victim of reverse discrimination in South African cricket. His record-breaking, unconquered 429-run stand for the third wicket with Boeta Dippenaar in Chittagong was a delivery of promise long after he had forced his way into the South African squad in November 2001 by sheer weight of runs in domestic cricket. A left-handed batsman who stands tall at the point of delivery with an upraised bat, Rudolph has pleasing footwork, balance and favours the cover drive. His Test debut was balm to the wounds Rudolph suffered leading up to his first entry to international cricket. Twice he was in line for his Test debut, and twice politics intervened. His first international experience came during the unofficial match at Centurion against India in 2001-02, in the aftermath of the Mike Denness affair. And two months later he was named in the side to face Australia at Sydney, but the UCB Board president Percy Sonn vetoed his selection on the grounds of racial discrimination, and Justin Ontong made his debut instead. He fought back strongly, if undemonstrably – an unbeaten 102 saved South Africa from defeat in a classic at Perth at the end of 2005, but 125 runs from six further innings, against the same opposition in a 3-0 whitewash at home, did little to boost his claims.
In January 2007, he decided to move to Yorkshire on a three-year Kolpak deal, suspending his international career with South Africa in the hope of redeveloping his game. At the end of his first season with the club, he extended the contract to keep him at Headingley until 2011 but was released a season early after wanting to return home. Though he returned to Yorkshire as an overseas player in the second half of 2011 he couldn’t do enough to prevent them being relegated and signed as Surrey’s overseas player for the following year. In his first season back in South Africa, he was the leading run-getter in the SuperSport series, scoring 954 runs in 17 innings for the Titans. His form continued into the 2011-12 season and he was rewarded with a recall to the South Africa Test squad for their home series against Australia. Andrew Miller
Matthew Spriegel is a useful one-day batsman for Surrey who is yet to make the grade in first-class cricket. A graduate of Whitgift School and Loughborough University he is a regular captain for Surrey’s Second XI. He had a superb CB40 campaign in 2011, helping Surrey to the title with 424 runs at 53.00 which was enough to earn him an extension on his Surrey contract.
A former MCC young cricketer, Gary Wilson, the Irish wicketkeeper, signed for Surrey in 2005 as cover for Jon Batty. In 2005 he featured in eight Second X1 matches hitting a highest score of 56. He looked impressive behind the stumps, claiming 32 dismissals which included 26 catches and six stumpings. He has also featured in the Under-19s World Cup in 2004 and 2006 then made his way into regular first-team action for Ireland. However, due to Niall O’Brien’s presence, that wasn’t often with the gloves and he found a specialist middle-order role. It has been harder work securing a county starting berth as he’s been tried in different top-order positions without consistent success.