sport

Ford up for Surrey challenge

Surrey's new head coach Graham Ford is relishing the task of getting the county cricket club moving in an upward direction after relegation.

The 52-year-old former Sri Lanka coach joined Surrey in February to work alongside Alec Stewart and admits it was a 'tough decision' to depart international cricket.

The South African previously spent five years with Kent and is looking forward to having a more balanced family life away from the game.

"It was a tough decision," Ford told Sky Sports. "There's nothing quite like international cricket.

"I loved my time with the Sri Lankan team, but international cricket is extremely busy and the season isn't really structured like it is in county cricket where you do have a little bit of time meaning you're able to manage family life with cricket.

"I enjoyed my time with Kent. I had five years with Kent and loved county cricket and I'm really looking forward to getting back into the county scene."

Surrey have talent in their squad, none more so than former South African captain Graeme Smith and Ford believes the ex-Proteas skipper will be key to leading their younger talent.

"Obviously it's going to be an exciting challenge. I've had a chance to link up with the lads over the last three-and-a-half weeks and get to know them," he continued.

"There's a real good young feel to the squad with that comes a lot of enthusiasm and energy. Perhaps there's a little inexperience within the group, but Graeme Smith will certainly make a big difference in that department.

"It's really about trying to mould a group of players together to become a competitive unit in county cricket."