Kent season preview
Winning the Twenty20 Cup helped mask a below-par campaign for Kent last time out. Bigger things are expected in 2008.
By Rob Lancaster
Last Updated: 14/04/08 4:55pm
Winning the Twenty20 Cup helped mask a below-par campaign for Kent last time out.
Their somewhat surprise success on finals day at Edgbaston was a tremendous achievement for Robert Key's side and they will want to build on that in 2008.
Avoiding relegation to Division Two of the County Championship was also important, although they failed to win promotion in the Pro40.
However, with international commitments unlikely to disturb their squad, Kent have a good blend of wise old heads and rising talent.
Yasir Arafat is back as overseas player after being outstanding last summer and is joined at Canterbury by former Pakistan team-mate Azhar Mahmood, who is now a Kolpak player.
The county are also still hopeful Justin Kemp will be cleared to play, despite his involvement in the ICL, so this year Kent will be something of a multi-national organisation.
There is at least an Englishman in charge in Rob Key and both he and wicketkeeper Geraint Jones will be hoping some good form at domestic level can remind the national selectors of their talents.
Martin van Jaarsveld is likely to be as reliable as ever in a middle order that also includes experienced duo Darren Stevens and Matthew Walker.
With promising opener Joe Denly at the top, Kent should be more than capable of making big scores.
Wickets could be a little harder to come by, with Arafat spearheading a steady if unspectacular seam attack that will hope the rather rapid Amjad Khan can come back to his best form after a year out following knee surgery.
James Tredwell, fresh from his trip to New Zealand as part of England's one-day squad, will compliment the plethora of paceman with his off-spin.
The bowling looks to have variation and may be most effective in the shorter form of the game. A repeat of their one-day success could be Kent's best hopes for a trophy in 2008.
Big year for: Key/Khan/Jones - All three still have hopes of an England chance. There is no doubt they have the talent, but while Key has questions over his concentration and Jones needs to get back to scoring runs, Khan has to return from a serious knee injury to show he is still the same bowler that was on the cusp of a call-up previously.
One to watch: Sam Northeast - On a staff that comes from all over the globe there is one young Englishman to look out for. All-rounder Northeast is a natural sportsman who has already represented his country at Under 19 level.