The Outlaws were defeated by Somerset at Taunton on Monday, a match that was eventually played on the scheduled reserve day, leaving Peter Moores’ squad little time to prepare for the first of four matches that close out their Specsavers County Championship season.
“It’s a quick turnaround for us, that’s for sure,” said Moores. “Coach back to Nottingham, then straight down to the Kia Oval to prepare. We’re obviously disappointed not to be going to Finals Day but this is a great fixture for us to have right now. Surrey have played really well this year and are top of the division, so this is a real challenge for us.”
The Division One leaders are a side bristling with talent and fresh from a recent innings victory over Notts at Trent Bridge and have opened up a 32-point cushion over second-placed Somerset, going into this round of matches.
Notts, who haven’t won any of their last three championship matches, are a further 28 points adrift in third, having played a game more.
Apart from waving goodbye to the T20 trophy they won last year, the Notts staff have also bade their farewells to their two overseas players, Australian Dan Christian and New Zealand’s Ish Sodhi.
Christian skippered the side to victory last year and had a fine campaign with the bat this time around, whilst Sodhi picked up 19 wickets in the competition.
“Ish is such a good team man,” reflected Moores. “He’s had a really good tournament, he’s bowled nicely and taken wickets and Dan is fiercely proud and was so keen to get to Finals Day for a third year in a row, as did everyone. Dan throws his heart and soul into it and to have two overseas players who are Notts through and through is a real credit to them and we’ll be sad to see them go because they are great to have around the place.”
With Chris Nash not having fully recovered from the shoulder injury which has blighted the last two months of his season Notts have acted decisively to bring in a replacement. Ben Slater, the Derbyshire batsman, has signed on loan with a view to the deal being made permanent during the winter.
“It’s exciting for him and exciting for us,” commented Moores. “We’ve been searching for a left-handed top order batter. Ben will be in our squad and we’ll pick our team on the morning of the game.”
The Kia Oval hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for Notts over the years, with their last victory coming beneath the gas-holder in 2008. Stung by the loss of their T20 crown this would be a good week to fight back and reverse their recent results in South London.