20 April 2009
As Surrey kick off their season this week, new coach Chris Adams has made it clear he wants the Oval outfit to become a team people hate to play.
The Kennington outfit have always been a side that produce top class England players, and occasionally excellent sides, but Adams want the club to continue with its excellent record of producing top quality players but also develop a steely edge.
He said: "We still want to be a place that is producing quality players for England and for us to be a top four side again. I also want that but I want people and teams to come to Surrey and for it to be a place and team that other hate to play."
The inconsistent, but talented bunch of cricketers at the Oval, find themselves in the second tier of the county championship after being relegated last year as well as being in the second division of the Natwest Pro40 league.
Adams wants the team to rise to the top of the game where he believes the club belong, but he doesn't want success to be a flash in the pan as it has proved to be in the past.
He said: "We are putting in the strongest team possible off the pitch so it is not a case of winning silverware one year and relegation the next. If we have that team in place off the pitch then the trophies will come on a regular basis. We want to be consistent winners over trophies over a long period of time."
Under his captaincy an unfashionable Sussex outfit became County champions for two out of the last three seasons, and he believes his club captain Mark Butcher will also play a pivotal role again this year.
Adams added: "Mark will not start the season for us but I see him as the final part of the jigsaw on the pitch when he finally returns to the side. Not only will we have a world class batsman but we will have somebody who has an excellent tactical mind, and we will be using his experience, along with other players such as Mark Ramprakash, to complete others in the side."
Having bought in academy players and England greats Alec Stewart and Graham Thorpe off the pitch, he insists that the youngsters he has seen will get a chance but it is up to them to take the opportunities that come their way.
But the target is clear for Adams for this year: "I want to make an environment where excellence succeeds whether that is old or young players. I have been here since January and I believe that is in place now, of course I want silverware but I want it for a sustained period and we have to get right off the pitch first."
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