Dunn says it’s time for Surrey to shine as County Championship season begins against Glamorgan

With the self-entitled ‘circus’ surrounding Kevin Pietersen’s return to county cricket, it is easy to forget that Surrey begin their campaign against Glamorgan at the Swalec Stadium tomorrow.

Having come close last year without reward, the club – led by new club captain Gareth Barry – are adamant that promotion from Division Two of the LV County Championship this time around is a ‘must’.

The expectation at the Kia Oval has only been heightened by the high profile acquisitions of Pietersen and Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara, who are both in the squad to face Glamorgan.

However – despite the big names on show – it was 22-year-old Matt Dunn who was the star of Surrey’s four-day campaign last year, claiming 47 wickets.

“We’ve had a great crop of young guys who have been learning their trade for the last couple of seasons but there is no excuses this year,” said Dunn.

“We are old enough and experienced enough – especially myself – to really push on and get into division one.”

Part of Dunn’s confidence comes from a clear understanding of his own game in which, interestingly, the fast bowler likes to keep things simple.

“A lot of people try and overcomplicate it these days, that’s what I did for the first three years of my career, I strived for it too much,” he said.

“You can have every plan in the world but for me I try and keep it very basic. I just try and bowl at the top of off stump with as much intent as I can – it’s that simple.

“If I do what I do best I don’t think it matters what plan the batsman comes with. A lot of people know what I’m going to do but hopefully I can do one better.”

The young seamer attracted plaudits for his performances last year and was called up to play for the MCC in this season’s curtain-raiser against champions Yorkshire in Abu Dhabi alongside England test captain Alastair Cook.

“It was a big breakthrough year for Matt last year,” said club captain Gareth Batty.

“As far as I’m concerned he became a man last year. He led the attack for the vast majority of the season for which I can’t give the young player enough credit – that was an amazing achievement.

“He never ever shied away from a challenge which hopefully will stand him in good stead.”

Surrey’s one-day form last year was hit and miss. While they reached the Natwest T20 Blast semi-finals for the second year in a row, they won just one game in the Royal London one-day cup.

They will be hoping for more consistency in white ball cricket this year and were boosted by the signing New South Wales and Sydney Sixers captain Moises Henriques.

The Australian will join up with Surrey once he completes his duties in the Indian Premier League, and will deputise for Sangakkara when the batsman is called up for international duty.

Dunn is looking forward to playing more T20 cricket at the Kia Oval and says the experience is an unforgettable one.

“My main focus when I started was breaking into the four-day team but I also played quite a lot of the T20 last year which I really enjoyed,” he said.

“We are so lucky here at the Kia Oval to have such good crowds come and watch us especially in the T20.

“Before last season I had probably not played in front of more than 100 people, so then stepping out in front of 24,000 is one of those experienced you never forget.”

Feature image of Matt Dunn, courtesy of Will Burton

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