BY MARCUS HOOK
Surrey have made a disappointing start to the T20 Blast, but that’s hardly surprising when, on top of Jason Roy and Sam Curran representing England in white-ball cricket, both overseas players found themselves being diverted to Zimbabwe to take part in a hastily arranged three-way T20 international tournament.
A frustrated Michael Di Venuto, Surrey’s head coach, wrote on social media: “We can’t control a Zimbabwe tour that was on-off then on again.”
In the two close-ish games that Australia’s Aaron Finch and Nic Maddinson missed – against Middlesex at Lord’s and at home to Kent – the pair’s absence unquestionably had a bearing on the outcome. There are more than enough group matches for Surrey to qualify for next month’s quarter-finals.
Finch, who is Australia’s T20 captain, returns for his third spell at the Oval in some nick, having jumped three places to top the ICC T20I batting rankings.
During the tournament out in Zim, the 31-year-old Victorian became the first player ever to break the 900-point barrier in the T20I rankings. In the last month, he has made more than 500 runs at an average of 55.10 in all white-ball cricket.
It will be interesting to see how Nic Maddinson takes to playing county cricket for the first time.
Unlike Finch, he hasn’t been pressed into service much since the end of the domestic season down under – in which he averaged 66.33 in one-day and 32.33 in T20 cricket.
The word is Maddinson is a left-hander who likes to get on with it. Let’s hope his entrance, alongside Finchy, has the same effect as the Prussians’ arrival at Waterloo, in 1815, after the party had started.