Scott Borthwick has revealed his frustration at picking up a side injury, just when he felt in the form of his life.
The 29-year-old is one of Surrey’s eight walking wounded.
Borthwick reckons that representing the Oval outfit is something every county cricketer is honoured to have on their CV.
“Playing for Surrey, for me, is the biggest thing in cricket,” said the former Durham and England all-rounder. “It’s the Manchester United [of cricket], and if you ever get the chance to come and sign for Surrey I don’t think you turn it down.
“I spoke to a couple of other clubs, but then I had a meeting with Divva [Surrey’s head coach, Michael Di Venuto] who I played with up at Durham and just speaking to him and Alec Stewart about the ambition at the club and what they wanted to achieve with a young squad… to be part of that sounded something special .
“To get that opportunity to sign for Surrey two years ago, was massive.
“I’d had a bit of success down here with the ball – my career-best figures came at the Oval. For a batter who bowls leg-spin, I knew that a wicket with a bit of turn and a bit of bounce – where else would I want to play my cricket?
“I haven’t had as many chances with the ball as I would have liked, but with the bowling unit we had last year and with Virds [off-spinner Amar Virdi] doing an amazing job, I was always going to be the fifth or sixth option.
“But I had a good winter in Perth. I bowled a lot of overs in Grade cricket over there and I started the season feeling good, but then I pulled my side.
“It was a grade one side strain.
“I did it in the opening game against Durham University. I ran down the track to the spinner, tried to slog one – which is not my game, I shouldn’t do it – and I felt something go in my side. It’s not something I’ve ever done before. I didn’t even know I had muscles there until I did it, which was really annoying.
“The first game of the season is always one you want to play in and be a part of. I felt I was in decent nick, with bat and ball actually. I bowled a good number of overs in the MCC game out in Dubai and made 151 not out against Durham University, so I’m upset and annoyed I got injured.
“But it’s getting stronger now and I’m back in the nets again at long last.
“Other than a couple of little niggles in my fingers, which you get if you’re a slip fielder, I’ve been very lucky throughout my career with injuries, in 10 or 11 years of professional cricket.
“But then last year, when I broke a wrist, it was the first time I’ve ever missed more than two or three games.
“So, to end last season with a broken wrist and start this season with a side strain, it’s very frustrating. But you’ve just got to get over it.”
England’s four-wicket ODI victory over Ireland in Dublin last Friday was something of an all-Surrey-star performance, with Tom Curran and Liam Plunkett taking seven of the 10 wickets to fall before wicketkeeper Ben Foakes came to the visitors’ rescue with the bat.
Foakes marked his international white-ball debut with a level-headed 61 not out off 76 balls, joining forces with Tom Curran (47 not out), who came to the crease with England 101-6 chasing a target of 199.
But Foakes, who was also England’s top-scorer with 107 when he made his Test debut in Sri Lanka at the end of last year, does not anticipate getting many more chances with the wicketkeeping gloves at the top level this summer now that Lancashire’s Jos Buttler has returned from the Indian Premier League.
“Can I break into the England team? Probably not,” said the 26-year-old. “Jos is probably the best keeper-batsman in the world and Jonny [Bairstow] is probably second, if not first. It’s ridiculous. Just to get a game was great – it’s something I didn’t expect.”
“It was one of those rebuilding jobs, which I guess suited my game a little bit. I just had to get my head down and fight it out. It was a bit of a grind.”