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Former England skipper believes Burns will be key to Surrey's future

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FORMER England captain Allan Lamb believes Surrey can bounce straight back to the top flight if they put greater trust in their young talent – insisting Rory Burns leads the charge. A six-wicket defeat to Warwickshire last week sealed Surrey's fate as they dropped into Division Two of the LV= County Championship for a third time in their history. Chris Adams and first-team coach Ian Salisbury paid the price for Surrey's slow start as the pair were sacked in June, with acting director of cricket Alec Stewart unable to stop the rot. And while Durham took the Division One crown without a single overseas player, the high-profile arrivals of some of the world's leading batsmen – Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting and Hashim Amla – also couldn't stop Surrey circling the drain. But amid the turmoil at the Oval the form of 23-year-old Burns at the top of the order has been a shining light in an otherwise dark season. Ahead of the final game of the season against Yorkshire, Burns was Surrey's second-top run scorer with 835, behind Vikram Solanki's 944, at an average of 33.40 – earning him the title of LV= County Championship Breakthrough Player of the Year. Along with Burns other young talents such as Jason Roy, Dominic Sibley and Zafar Ansari have made their mark this season. And Lamb, who won two Ashes series in the 1980s, is adamant youth over experience is the way forward for Surrey next year, with Burns at the forefront of it all. "Rory Burns has had a great season – I'm just disappointed that it has been set against the backdrop of Surrey being so bad," said Lamb. "He has got a lot of potential and it really started to show this summer. He has not done badly at all – it is very difficult getting 1,000 runs and to pass 800 in a season is a very good achievement. "I think you have got to develop your youth and I think that is the problem with Surrey. They have brought in older players instead of bringing through the youngsters. "Surrey have a very large salary budget and they have brought in some amazing players this season but you can't keep buying overseas players. "For a county of their stature to finish how they have done and be playing second division cricket – it is not a good sign. They have gone wayward and the players have lost their way quite a bit. "I know that Chris Jordan went to Sussex because he wasn't playing so much and I think Surrey need to trust their youngsters a bit more. It is even more impressive that Rory has managed to thrive this season in that environment." Burns is just the second winner of the LV= County Championship Breakthrough Player of the Year Award, with the first recipient being Yorkshire's Joe Root. Root has set the bar very high after going on to help England win the Ashes this summer but Lamb insists Burns' wicketkeeping skills mean he could yet follow suit. "I think Rory will be right up there in terms of England in the future – there are a few others pushing for it but he has done well," Lamb added. "There are a lot of players who can keep these days. Matt Prior is going to be around for a while yet and then you have Craig Kieswetter, Jos Buttler and a number of others. "But it is still an important skill and may increase his chances of breaking through." For more information on the LV= County Championship and this year's LV= County Championship Breakthrough Player Award, visit www.LV.com/cricket

Former England skipper believes Burns will be key to Surrey's future


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