If you’re old enough to remember the game show Bullseye, you’ll recall that if the top prize went begging the host Jim Bowen would say: “Let’s see what you would have won”, and they would unveil a car or wheel on a speedboat. The mind boggles at quite what use Mike and Andy from Barnsley would have for a speedboat, but that’s by the by.
After today, just eight more days of cricket remain for Surrey, who started the Royal London One-Cup slowly and got slower, but turned around an inconsistent opening to their Vitality Blast campaign.
Four wins out of the last five in the T20 South Group wasn’t enough to shoehorn themselves into the knockout phase, but one was left with a sense of having seen just what Surrey were capable of.
And the prize of a place in Finals Day on September 21 was there for the taking when you look at some of the teams that have made it through. Derbyshire, for example, who have never reached Finals Day before; and Notts, who appear destined for County Championship relegation.
A year ago today, Surrey players and supporters alike were knocking back the champagne on the outfield at Worcester, the County Championship having been secured. Although the title defence may not have matched 2018’s vintage, it would be nice to see what we might have been treated to, a la Bullseye.
With the Ashes remaining in Australia’s hands, at least until January 2022, many, like me, were expecting changes for the Oval Test, with current and former Surrey players topping the list of potential replacements. But instead England have concluded that there’s nothing to be gained from pressing the likes of Foakes, Pope and Sibley into action for just one Test.
Jason Roy can count himself fortunate to still be in the side. Roy has been bowled five times in 10 Test innings this summer, his tendency to fall forward when defending the quicks highlighting a technical flaw.
But, to be fair, it’s arguably Roy’s only flaw – and flaws can be worked on and improved.
And besides, while he may only be averaging 13.75 in the Ashes, Jos Buttler is hardly ripping up trees with a batting average of 16.25.
Rory Burns has cemented his place, though. Burns is just the third England opener since the retirement of Andrew Strauss to reach 50 three times in a single series; while all the other openers combined have made two half-centuries between them so far this Ashes.