Alec Stewart has underlined his commitment to produce players for England, despite Surrey being hit by a raft of international calls.

They went into this week’s Guildford Festival clash against Somerset – who started the match one point ahead at the top of Specsavers County Championship Division One – without four leading figures.

Batsman Jason Roy and seamer Tom Curran are in the England one-day squad for the series against Australia while all-rounder Sam Curran and wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes have been called up for the England Lions, who are involved in a series with India A which starts on Friday.

It means they also miss next week’s trip to play Yorkshire at Scarborough.

“When I took charge, I said that one of our major priorities was bringing on players for international cricket,” said Stewart, who was appointed as director of cricket midway through the 2013 season.

“We’re proud to see so many Surrey players within the England set-up now and we hope there will be more coming along.

“But it is frustrating that both England and England Lions have series at the same time as Championship matches and the knockout stages of the Royal London Cup. It has hit us hard.”

Stewart admitted the absence of so many players was the reason why he had decided to sign a short-term overseas player in South African Theunis de Bruyn, who arrived earlier this week to play in the Guildford and Scarborough matches: “We are effectively left with no reserves, so we had no choice in the end.”

The 25-year-old batsman, who bowls medium-pace as a second-string, has played five Tests and two T20 internationals.

Somerset and Yorkshire been hit by call-ups too, the latter six men light. Both sides went into the Guildford Festival with three wins in five matches, Surrey’s biggest victory by an innings and 18 runs over Hampshire coming last week.

The ruthlessness of the bowlers particularly delighted Stewart, who added: “They were relentless against Hampshire – we’ve talked about this in the past and had plans but the bowlers have to put them into effect and have done that outstandingly so far.”

He picked out Rikki Clarke for particular praise, commenting: “He’s been magnificent since he came back to us last season, whether taking wickets or creating the pressure for others.

“There’s a bit of room for improvement with the batting – Rory Burns and Ben Foakes, in particular, have been outstanding and Ollie Pope has scored two fine centuries but maybe we haven’t gone on quite as far as we might have done at times.

"But I’m certainly not going to complain about three wins out of five as a start. It doesn’t win you anything, though, and now we have some tough games coming up.”

Surrey’s failure to quality for the knockout stages of the Royal London One-Day Cup was a major disappointment, having reached the final for the past three years.

“When we were good we were pretty good but when we were poor we were extremely poor, which we saw in the defeats against Somerset and Kent,” conceded Stewart.

“The ironic thing was that we did pretty much what we’ve done for the last couple of years, which was to win one more game than we lost. But this time other results didn’t go for us.

“We shouldn’t be depending on other teams.”