The recruitment of three experienced players to embellish a four-day side that clinched promotion in 2011 has left Surrey captain Rory Hamilton-Brown purring in anticipation of next month’s start to the new LV= County Championship campaign.
Surrey signed veteran former England seamer Jon Lewis from Gloucestershire last summer and completed their winter rebuilding programme by capturing South Africa batsman Jacques Rudolph and Indian left-arm spinner Murali Kartik to share overseas player duties.
While Rudolph will bring a wealth of experience to opening the batting – the most troublesome berths in the Surrey order for a number of seasons – it is the arrival of Kartik in mid-May which possibly excites Hamilton-Brown and the county’s supporters the most.
Explaining the reasoning behind the Kartik signing, Hamilton-Brown said: “We opened our eyes last summer to how important home advantage is when doing well in four-day cricket.
“We know what sort of pitches we have here at the Oval and we now better understand what we need to do as a group of players in order to get positive results here. We knew that, to be utterly confident of taking 20 wickets to win a game, we needed a spinner to take the ball away from right-handers.
“We already have a fantastic seam and pace attack and a high-quality off-spinner in Gareth Batty, but to add Murali Kartik to that mix will give us a great balance and a formula to taking a lot of wickets on Oval pitches.”
In his previous county stints with Middlesex, Lancashire and Somerset, Kartik has already proved his wicket-taking abilities but, according to Hamilton-Brown, the 36-year-old from Madras will also bring steel to the Surrey dressing room.
“I’ve played a fair number of games against Murali and he is a fierce competitor,” added the young Surrey skipper. “Yes, he will give us that on-field presence and a high level of skills but, most importantly to me, he brings balance to the side.
“There’s no doubt that with the addition of Kartik and our other signings, Jon Lewis and Jacques Rudolph, we now have a spine of experience and no little talent running through the side for 2012.
“Hopefully, that will make us a more consistent outfit throughout the season and help us through the sort of sticky patches we tended to suffer last season.”