In most cases, it is all about survival for teams in their first season after promotion from Division 2. However, given the strength of Surrey's squad, this may not be the case here. The bowling stocks appear to be as good as any with new signing Jon Lewis making it a quartet of England seam bowlers along with Chris Tremlett, Jade Dernbach and Stuart Meaker. Murali Kartik looks a good choice of overseas player as does Jacques Rudolph who will fill in until Kartik arrives after the IPL. The batting looks just as strong with the evergreen Mark Ramprakash, Rudolph and Zander de Bruyn joined by some tremendously talented young batsmen such as Jason Roy, Tom Maynard, captain Rory Hamilton-Brown and keeper Steven Davies. All in all, Surrey look to have a formidable side on paper.
The lack of a genuinely top-class opening batsman - although Rudolph can fill in for the first couple of months - could mean Ramprakash and de Bruyn are exposed to the new ball too frequently. The England selectors could come calling on a regular basis, which could test the depth of the squad as could likely injuries to the likes of Tremlett.
Whilst Tremlett (if fit) is likely to play more games than last season given his likely slip down the pecking order of England seamers and Maynard looks a great prospect, it's harder to look further than Mark Ramprakash. Injuries and a subsequent meagre return of runs (by his lofty standards) may have plagued him last season, but the challenge of scoring runs in Division 1 is likely to revive him.
Look out for
Some partcularly quick, green and bouncy Oval tracks - with a seam quartet like this, it would be silly not to play to their strengths.
3rd - They could go all the way and will certainly go close to lifting the title, but not quite this year in our view.
2011 County Cricket Review: including Heroes of the Season, Best and Worst XIs, and a whole host of other nonsense
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