Star-studded Surrey ready to end 15-year wait for County Championship title, insists seamer Mark Footitt

 
Ross McLean
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Derbyshire v Surrey - LV County Championship
Mark Footitt claimed 34 first-class wickets for Surrey during the 2016 campaign (Source: Getty)

Galacticos may be an overstatement but paceman Mark Footitt believes the star quality currently in Surrey’s dressing room compares favourably with their serial County Championship winners from the turn of the century.

Surrey enter the 2017 season, which starts on Friday, bolstered by the signings of Durham pair Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick, while England exile Kevin Pietersen joins Australian powerhouse Aaron Finch in providing Twenty20 razzmatazz.

It is a squad bursting with precocious talent, international pedigree and overseas flair yet, two Division Two titles aside, the Kia Oval trophy cabinet has been under-stocked for over a decade.

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A Clydesdale Bank 40 triumph is their only major silverware since 2003 – a far cry from their run of three championships in four years between 1999 and 2002. Footitt is confident it can be rectified.

“This club is geared up for success in all competitions,” the 31-year-old told City A.M. “We’re homing in on all of them but we’ve got massive ambitions to win the championship and we’ve got a big chance.

“I wouldn’t say Galacticos – that’s quite a big word – but there is star attraction here and people want to play for a club like Surrey with such a massive history of winning things.

“Everyone remembers the sides of the 1990s and early 2000s and the current squad can definitely rival those. You’ve got six or seven seam bowlers here who could probably all play for the 17 other counties.

“Then you look at the batting line-up and there will be people missing out who have played international cricket. That’s a big thing. It’s a massive, talented squad.”

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Left-arm seamer Footitt claimed 34 first-class wickets at an average of 26.85 last season, which followed 76 the previous year in the second tier.

His bowling heroics for Derbyshire earned a mid-series Ashes call-up in 2015 as well as place on England’s winter tour to South Africa, although a Test debut has so far proven elusive.

“If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I will be disappointed but I’ll know that I’ve given it my best shot,” added Footitt.

“It’s a big season for me. I want to keep improving and push for the winter [Ashes tour to Australia].

“When you get a taste of it you want to feel that buzz again. You’ve just got to keep striving to be the best you can.”

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