Surrey: rich in history, tradition and a formidable force in cricket
An More than 400 years ago, in 1611, King James I gave to his son Henry, Prince of Wales, the manor Kennington, where the home ground of Surrey – The Oval – stands today. Even to date, Prince of Wales’ feathers are on the club’s badge.

Surrey is the second most successful English County behind Yorkshire; 21 outright wins and one shared.

Surrey was formed in 1845. The first Test match on English soil was played at The Oval in 1880 and it was at this ground The Ashes was born.

Over the years, there have been periods where the club enjoyed unprecedented  success. From 1952 to 1958, Surrey won seven successive County Championships.

The imposing image of the ground as you come out of The Oval tube station is a treat to watch. The massive gasholders overlooking the ground is another famous backdrop to the ground.

Traditionally, The Oval hosts the last Test match of the English summer and some famous names have marked their swansong in cricket here such as Sir Don Bradman, Sir Viv Richards and Malcolm Marshall.

The venue has been the location for some of the best games of cricket. The Oval favours batsmen and batters from all over the world have made merry at this ground.

The Oval also helps spin more than any other English ground. Surrey’s success in County Cricket between 1952 to 1958 was largely due to their spin pair – Jim Laker and Tony Lock.

England’s highest total in Test match cricket was scored at The Oval when they posted 903 for seven declared against Bradman’s Aussies in 1938. Sir Len Hutton went on to score 364 in that game, the highest score in Test match cricket for 20 years until Sir Garry Sobers broke it in 1958.  The milestone is still a record for England after more than 80 years.

London Derby between Surrey and Middlesex is one of the greatest rivalries in British sport and usually attracts the biggest crowds for both sides in the season.
With a capacity of 27,500, The Oval attracts sellout crowds for games. On non-match days, the club gives away its premises to conferences and other events and the popular venue is highly sort after. Surrey has a membership of 18,000 members.

Sir Jack Hobbs has a gate named after him at The Oval. Wonder why? The reason is that he’s got to be the greatest player to come out of Surrey. In a career that spanned for over 30 years, he amassed 61,760 runs in First Class cricket most by far in the history of the game. His 199 hundreds are also the most in the history of First-Class cricket. He played past his 50th birthday and remains the oldest man to have scored a Test hundred, at 46.

Yorkshire-born England cricketer Jim Laker spent most of his time playing First Class cricket for Surrey. His exploits in Test match cricket, where he claimed 19 wickets in a match at Old Trafford are well documented  but he was deadly in County Cricket as well and one key reason for Surrey’s glory days in 1950s.

Ken Barrington is another Surrey legend. Batting usually at number four, his long vigils for both Surrey and England stood in good stead for both teams. He scored over 30,000 runs in First Class cricket. He went on to average 58 in Test match cricket and a heart-attack at the age of 36 forced him to retire prematurely. He was a more than useful leg-spin bowler as evident by his 273 First Class wickets.

John Edrich is another Surrey legend, whose First-Class career spanned across 22 seasons in which he produced over 39,000 runs.
Tom Richardson may not be a famous name like Hobbs, Edrich, Barrington or Laker when talking of Surrey legends, but in a bygone era, he was a feared fast bowler.

Richardson took more than 200 wickets in three consecutive seasons – 1895, 1896 and 1897. His stamina was legendary and apparently he used to walk to The Oval from home each day and back at stumps, covering a distance of 14 miles. All this with his kit bag.

Mickey Stewart may not have the numbers like other Surrey legends, but he is one of England’s greats very much center of transformation and is known as a strict disciplinarian. He was Surrey’s captain for nine years and won the Championship in 1971. He was appointed as Manager of Surrey side in 1979 and held the same post with England from 1986 to 1992.

Mickey’s son Alec though went on to achieve greatness with the England side whom he represented in 133 Test matches. The entrance to The Oval if you exit Vauxhall tube station is from the Alec Stewart Gate.

Mark Ramprakash was  a run machine for Surrey having joined the County midway through his career after initially playing for Middlesex. He was a class act, elegant to watch and technically perfect and was huge pillar in Surrey’s success. However, he couldn’t convert his success in Test match cricket.

Surrey have had several sensational players as their overseas signings over the years. With Laker retired and Lock moving onto Leicestershire, Surrey looked far and beyond and signed up Pakistan leg-spinner Intikhab Alam, who became their first overseas player.

Since then, Surrey have had a liking for spin bowlers as their overseas player particularly the ones from Pakistan. Both Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq had stints with Surrey. Saqlain was a hit with the County with not many able to pick his doosra. In eight seasons for Surrey, Saqlain picked up over 400 wickets and in three seasons they won the County Championship.

West Indian Sylvester Clarke’s opportunities in Test cricket were limited for that team was blessed with so many fast bowlers but he was a key member of the Surrey side, whom he represented for nine seasons starting from late 1970s.

Kumar Sangakkara came to Surrey after retiring from Test cricket and for three seasons he was unstoppable piling up big runs.