Surrey skipper Rory Hamilton-Brown is ready to take a step on to the international stage and has a promotion and a one-day title to prove it, writes Stuart Amos.
The 24-year-old Wandsworth cricketer led the Lions to LV= Country Championship Division Two promotion and the Clydesdale Bank 40 trophy last year in only his second season at the helm, having helped turned them from an under-achieving outfit that could not buy a win, into a side that holds genuine ambitions of winning more silverware this summer.
Kia Oval stars Jade Dernbach, Chris Tremlett, Steven Davies, Kevin Pietersen, Tom Maynard and Stuart Meaker have all represented England or England Lions within the past two years, while the captain has looked on.
But, with a new contract extension until 2014 under his belt, Hamilton-Brown is out to redress the balance and reckons the captaincy will help – not hinder – his cause.
“I always knew taking the captaincy would set my international aspirations back a year or so,” he said.
“In my first year I struggled with my form in the four day game but, in one day cricket, I had as good a season as I could ask.
“Mentally, the captaincy was a challenge because I had not played a lot of the long game and was still learning.
“But, last year, I felt it was beneficial and helped develop my character.
“I have developed my game and I think being captain can only enhance my chances with England.”
And Hamilton-Brown insisted repeating last season’s successes needed more hard work.
“There is a stigma about Surrey of being lazy and arrogant and it is a bug bear for us as we want to be different,” he added.