BY MARCUS HOOK
Surrey’s new T20 Blast captain Jade Dernbach has spoken of how proud he feels to be skippering the county he has represented since the age of 17.
The 32-year-old has been a one-county man after emerging through the South London club’s youth ranks.
Gareth Batty relinquished the captaincy and Surrey chose to split the duties with Rory Burns taking on the role in the County Championship and One-Day Cup.
“My experience in white ball cricket may be one of the reasons why I was chosen for the T20 captaincy,” said Dernbach.
“I know what it takes to be successful in this version of the game. I’d like to think I’ve shown some leadership qualities over the years that I’ve been in the team and to get this opportunity now is a great privilege.
“It has been frantic at times. It’s a question of getting used to the pace of the game again.
“Coming from championship cricket into this is always a shock to the system. But it’s an exciting opportunity for me.”
Unlike 12 months ago, when Dernbach enjoyed two wins out of two as stand-in for the injured Batty, this year’s T20 Blast campaign has not got off to the best of beginnings.
“Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get over the line,” said Dernbach. “I thought we showed some great character, like at Lord’s, in the middle overs, dragging it back after Paul Stirling played what I thought was a fantastic innings.
“To get four wickets there to give ourselves a chance, I thought was great.
“In T20 that’s the most important thing. If things are getting away from you it’s important to show some fight and some character, because you never know what might happen.
“We found that at Lord’s last year. We took it down to the second to last over again. That’s one of the characteristics I want to see as captain and I’m sure we’ll come out on top more often than not.
“At the halfway stage I think we were about 15 to 20 runs short, if we’re honest with ourselves. It was a good surface, but these are things to work on. It was our first game out of 14, but we’ll work on it and we’ll come back stronger.
“But we’ve made some good signings, with Finchy [Aaron Finch] coming back and Nic
Maddinson, who is an exciting prospect because not too many people would have seen him. Then, to get the England boys back at some stage will be a big boost for us.”
The absence of both Surrey’s overseas players has opened the door for others. Slow left-armer Freddie van den Bergh acquitted himself well against Kent, while, in the London derby, 17-year-old Jamie Smith was handed his first team debut.
“I was chuffed to bits for Jamie and his family,” said Dernbach. “I’m sure it was a very proud moment.
“He’s a super-talented kid. We got to see him [on the pre-season tour] out in Dubai.
“He scored some runs out there and that’s why he got his opportunity at Lord’s.
“That’s also exciting for a lot of other youngsters – to see that there is a pathway through to the first 11. That’s what happens throughout the course of a season.
“There will be opportunities opening up when they didn’t think they would.
“There’s been some guys putting in performances in the second 11.
“As captain, I’m excited to see what our other options are because it’s such a long competition and there will be times when people are going to have to slot in and do a job.”
Surrey’s T20 ladies team, the Surrey Stars, will kick-off their 2018 Kia Super League campaign at home to the Southern Vipers on July 22.