Sunday, April 11, 2010
Th fourth team I would like to preview is Kent. Kent did well to get promoted to the first division as last year they finished first in the second division, but most second division teams who get promoted to the first division have naturally found it tough. The experienced Robert Key would again captain the Kent side.
Kent play most of their cricket at St. Lawrence ground, though it is sad to see that the famous lime tree isn't there anymore. Anyway let us look at their squad for 2010.
As usual, Kent would be depending heavily on their experienced captain Key and the Saffer, Van Jarsveld. Both were very good in 2009 as they amassed over 1000 runs in the second division. To be frank, I'm not a fan of Key, but he is a fine player at the county level. You know what you would get from Key as he won't leave too many bad deliveries go unpunished and can do a fine job as a opener, though perhaps lacks the ability to play at the highest level. Similarly, Van Jarsveld has been a consistent run-getter for Kent. In the few opportunities he got, he struggled to make his mark as a international player for South Africa. His tendency to shuffle across the stumps made him a candidate for lbw and his habit of going hard at the ball doesn't help against good spinners either but he too has done a very good job for Kent in CC.
Kent also have batsmen like Stevens, G.Jones and Denly. Darren Stevens has been a consistent run-getter for both Kent and even Leicestershire in CC. I think he deserved to play for England in the shorter formats of the game, but his name has hardly ever cropped up for selection. If my memory serves me right, he did get selected in the provisional squad for the world cup in 2003, but for some reason his clean striking has rarely been considered by the selectors. His non-selection is a bit of mystery but coming back to CC, he is no doubt one of the key members of their batting line-up. Denly showed some promise as I remember him making a classy 90 against Warne and Stuart Clark a few years back, but I can see technical flaws in his batting. His habit of not moving his feet and leaving a gap between bat and pad leaves him vulnerable to getting bowled or lbw. He still averaged over 40 last year in second division and for Kent to do well he needs to score runs this season as well. The former England wicketkeeper Jones was in terrific form last season. Just like Read he has quick hands, but can be vulnerable to the full swinging delivery as he doesn't like to come forward. It would be interesting to see whether the first division bowlers can exploit his weakness. His wicketkeeping has improved a bit in recent times.
Among others, they do have the promising Northeast, Goodman and Hockley . Northeast is a gifted player as he is wristy and fine timer of the ball. I think he has a bright future ahead of him. Goodman too is rated highly. Hockley has been in their squad for a considerable period of time but has never been impressive. Having said that he did a bit better last season.
Kent would miss the services of their big hitting all-rounder Kemp this year. McLeran too isn't in the squad as he has opted to play for South Africa, but they do have Azhar Mahmood. I'm not convinced that Mahmood is fit enough to bowl in fc matches but he is in their squad. Adam Ball is said to be an exciting prospect.
Kent have signed the medium pacer Clark but I think he is on the wane. He has struggled with injuries and form in recent times. Amjad Khan has a history of injury problems but on his day he can very good. He doesn't have what is known in cricketing circles as a repeatable action, but can bowl at good pace and is useful with the old ball. The Antiguan Robbie Joseph is another bowler who has a bit of raw pace, but not sure about his accuracy. He is still one of their main bowlers in the side. Tredwell always seemed to be a bit of journeyman, so I was surprised that he got selected to play for England. Having said that, he is a type of bowler who can do a decent job in CC. D. Nel plays for Scotland and he looks to mainly choke the batsmen from one end and let others do the trick at the other end. Kent also have Phil Edwards, but I don't know why he is still in the squad as he has been no good in CC. The experienced Saggers has retired from cricket.
If I look at the Kent team, they do have a good batting line-up but I'm not convinced that Kent have the bowlers to take 20 wickets. I think they should look to aim at staying in the first division this year and gradually improve in the years to come.