County Round-Up - 14th October 2013

Graham Ford
Graham Ford will leave for Surrey after two successful years in charge of Sri Lanka.
©Action Images / Peter Cziborra Livepic

Current Sri Lanka head coach Graham Ford will take over the reins at Surrey from the beginning of February for three years. The 52 year-old will take up the position of head coach at the beleaguered club, with current caretaker coach Alec Stewart appointed Director of Cricket.

Speaking this week, Ford said: “I am delighted to once again be involved in English cricketing system. I have, for a long while, been an admirer of Surrey CCC and see it as a great privilege to be actively involved in such a fine club. I look forward to the exciting times ahead!”

Ford had notified Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) last month of his intention to stand down when his current contract expires in January. The board, who rate him highly as a result of him guiding the team to several strong results, asked him to reconsider. However, Ford was adamant that he wanted to leave and, despite admitting that he had been approached by Surrey, insisted that the decision was purely for family reasons.

He told ESPNcricinfo, “I had already decided that I was leaving before Surrey even advertised the position, so it took a bit of time. From a family point of view it works a lot better, in terms of all the time away from family that I currently have to go through."

Ford has previously coached Kent in county cricket, but is widely respected around the world having also enjoyed spells in charge of Natal, South Africa and, from January 2012, Sri Lanka. He also has a strong relationship with sometime Surrey batsman Kevin Pietersen. Pietersen, who has known Ford since his days as a schoolboy in South Africa, endorsed him for the England head coach job during his ill-fated captaincy tenure in 2009.

Ford will have his work cut out to lead a Surrey revival that has seen several false starts. Chris Adams was appointed amid much fanfare as their coaching saviour, but he was sacked midway through last season. The man he brought in as captain, Rory Hamilton-Brown, had earlier left for Sussex after the death of his flat-mate Tom Maynard in June 2012; a death which shook the club and the wider cricketing fraternity and knocked Surrey back just as they were beginning to show signs of improvement.

Adams signed several senior players over the winter of 2012-13 in a belated effort to reverse the decline, but it didn’t work and he was unceremoniously dumped. They were relegated from Division One of the LV= County Championship at the end of the 2013 season.

County Cricket News In Brief:
Veteran batsman David Sales has signed a new one-year deal with Northamptonshire.

Sussex have awarded full contracts to two of their young players. Both Harry Finch and Callum Jackson were on Junior Professional contracts for 2013, but made their senior debuts and have been rewarded with two and one-year deals respectively. All-rounder Finch made his debuts in both first-class and List A cricket and is a regular in the England Under-19 team. Jackson, meanwhile, made his debut in all three forms of the game as cover for the injured Ben Brown.

Former Kent captain David Clark has died at the age of 94. Clark played 75 matches for the county between 1946 and 1951 and went on to be their chairman and president, as well as President of the MCC.

Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell has committed his future to the club until the end of the 2016 season.

Yorkshire chief executive Mark Arthur has ruled out the signing of a second overseas player, alongside New Zealander Kane Williamson, for next season’s revamped Natwest T20. He told the Bradford Telegraph & Argus: “We’ve already got Kane Williamson signed up and he can play in all forms of cricket. If Kane is missing (on international duty), we will look to bring in somebody to plug that gap. What I won’t do is bring in a second overseas man because we don’t have the financial resources to do that.”

© Cricket World 2013