In the lead up to the 2016 domestic season, ecb.co.uk will be running a series of features with all 18 first-class counties. Surrey will be eager for Mark Footitt to make an instant impact at the Kia Oval as they look to hold their own in Specsavers County Championship Division One.
Mark Footitt may have only just arrived at Surrey, but he can expect to be charged with leading a new-look attack at the Kia Oval this season.
The retirements of Chris Tremlett, Tim Linley and David Balcombe left a sizeable hole in the seam ranks at Surrey – although admittedly Tom and Sam Curran had already began to plug it and then some during their breakthrough campaign last season.
Footitt’s move from Derbyshire was the highest-profile arrival of a busy winter south of the Thames, with former West Indies international Ravi Rampaul and young South Africans Conor McKerr and Mathew Pillans also bolstering the fast-bowling ranks.
New head coach Michael Di Venuto will hope that left-arm quick Footitt can hit the ground running as the club look to make a swift adjustment to life back in Division One of the Specsavers County Championship following their promotion last term.
“It’s been brilliant so far – we’ve been in for about three or four weeks,” Footitt told ecb.co.uk. “It’s been good to get to know the lads and do a bit of training.
“It’s going to be brilliant being back up in the top tier of English cricket. I’m looking forward to it, looking forward to the challenges.
“I need to push on for the next step of my career and I wanted to challenge myself against better players – that’s no disrespect to Derby or Division Two – I just think that the time was right for me to move and go to a bigger club really.”
Footitt’s first season with Surrey was preceded by a maiden tour with England to South Africa.
And while the 30-year-old did not get to make his Test debut, he believes the experience has improved him as a player.
“It was a fantastic opportunity for myself to be in an England squad and to go out there and learn different things,” he added.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) November 19, 2015
“Being around that atmosphere, and seeing what international cricket is all about really.
“It was a great tour for the squad itself winning the series, so it was fantastic to be involved.”
Forcing his way in to Trevor Bayliss’ plans for the first Test against Sri Lanka in May won’t be easy, but Footitt believes he can do enough to put his name in the hat once more, even on a Kia Oval wicket which is likely to offer less assistance than he is used to.
“The Test matches don’t start until May so there is a good month or so before to go and do well for Surrey and take wickets, and we’ll see what happens from there,” he continued.
“I’ve got a good record at the Oval – I seem to take quite a lot of wickets whenever I’ve played here, even on good pitches.
“The pitches are obviously going to be a bit more challenging and not going to do as much, but what I’ve learned through the winter and stuff I’m looking forward to getting out there and taking wickets for Surrey.”