Alec Stewart has told his Surrey players that “a lot of pride is at stake” ahead of the last match of what has proved a hugely disappointing season.
Surrey finish their County Championship campaign against Division One’s bottom club Notts, and director of cricket Stewart is looking for a largely forgettable summer for last year’s champions to end on a high note.
Speaking after a crushing innings and 40-run defeat to leaders Essex at Chelmsford, the former England captain said: “We are playing for the fans, the members, our families and ourselves. There is a lot to play for over those four days.
“There is a lot of pride at stake and the table does not lie. We are in the position we are at the moment because of the way we have played this season.
“Yes, losing at Essex hurt, but you also have to give credit to them – they bullied us, like we bullied teams last year. They showed exactly why they are top of the table.
“We were outplayed with bat, ball and in the field.”
Surrey seamer Liam Plunkett has hit out at not retaining his white-ball England contract.
The 34-year, who made seven appearances in this year’s World Cup – finishing on the winning side on every occasion – said: “Disappointed is an understatement.
“I am really happy for all the boys who got contracted. I am not having a pop at anyone, just disappointed I didn’t get one.”
Ashley Giles, England’s director of men’s cricket, praised Plunkett’s contribution as a “fantastic servant” to the white-ball team, but pointed out he had to prioritise a new generation of bowlers, like Plunkett’s Surrey team-mate Tom Curran.
Giles said: “Liam is incredibly fit and strong, but in terms of the numbers, I guess his pace has been down a little bit for some time.
“His best came in that role in the World Cup, and the World Cup final. He should be really proud of that achievement, and what they did as a team, but everything moves on.”
Surrey’s game against Notts started yesterday.