Kent preview

Runs should be in plentiful supply for Spitfires during the summer

By Rob Lancaster   Last updated: 6th April 2010  

Malinga Bandara

Bandara: Signed for the second half of the summer

Amjad Khan

Khan: Leading paceman for the Spitfires

Martin van Jaarsveld Kent Twenty20 Cup batting against Middlesex

Van Jaarsveld: Mr consistency

Kent celeb Rob Key Amjad Khan Kent v Leicestershire County Championship Division Two champions

Kent celebrate promotion back to Division One

The seam cupboard is a little bearer now without Ryan McLaren and the retirement of Martin Saggers. Amjad Khan will hope to stay fit to show just why he was picked by England and he needs to strike early and often

Quotes of the week

2009: County Championship: Winners, Division Two, promoted; Pro 40: 3rd, Division Two; FP Trophy: Group losers; Twenty20 Cup: Semi-finalists
Captain: Robert Key
Coach: Paul Farbrace
Overseas players: Malinga Bandara (Sri Lanka)
Ins: Bandara, Adam Ball
Outs: Ryan McLaren, Martin Saggers (retired), Justin Kemp

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Kent made sure their stay in Division Two of the LV County Championship was a short one, while they came close to winning the Twenty20 Cup for a second time.

Last season

It was a case of mission accomplished for Kent in four-day cricket, as they secured promotion from Division Two of the County Championship, going up as champions no less.

Their success in the longer format was built around big totals (four of their batsmen surpassed 1,000 runs in first-class cricket) and the wickets of off-spinner James Tredwell, who finished with 69 scalps.

The ever-reliable Martin van Jaarsveld led the way with the bat, while Geraint Jones' promotion to number three reaped dividends with five centuries in his tally of 1,345 runs.

While Tredwell was the star performer with the ball, Kent were far from a one-man attack. Seamers Amjad Khan and Simon Cook also helped Rob Key's side record eight wins in their 16 Championship fixtures.

The Spitfires were once again impressive in Twenty20 cricket, topping the South Division with six wins before losing to Somerset in the semi-finals.

However they did not enjoy the same levels of success in the longer formats in the one-day arena. Only Scotland finished below them in Group B of the Friends Provident Trophy, while they were third in Division Two of the Pro40.

In and outs

The South African contingency at Canterbury has been reduced by the departures of Ryan McLaren, who is now part of the Proteas' squads in both one-day and Test cricket, and Justin Kemp.

Both all-rounders will be missed but their exits will allow coach Paul Farbrace to give some of the county's impressive young talent more of a chance.

Adam Ball - a member of the ECB Fast Bowling Elite group - is the latest prospect, the 16-year-old having already represented England Under 19's.

The plan had been to have two overseas players during the season - Australian seamer Stuart Clark kicking off the campaign before leg spinner Malinga Bandara arrives from Sri Lanka for the second half of the summer.

However, the experienced Clark will not be coming at all due to concerns over his fitness as he returns to action from a back injury.

Summer forecast

The step up to Division One shouldn't faze Kent; after all they had been an ever present in the top tier before their shock relegation in 2008.

Scoring runs won't be a problem with van Jaarsveld, Key, Jones and Darren Stevens in their line-up. This also needs to be the year when Joe Denly, who has found life tough early on in international cricket with England, becomes a consistent performer in all forms of the game.

It will be wickets that will be the key and Farbrace appears to realise this by the overseas recruits (even if Clark is no longer coming). Tredwell and Bandara will form a threatening spin pair, so Kent will be hoping for a hot summer.

The seam cupboard is a little bearer now without McLaren and the retirement of Martin Saggers. Khan will hope to stay fit to show just why he was picked by England and he needs to strike early and often.

As for their one-day prospects, the Spitfires look a strong unit with a plethora of all-round talents, including former Pakistan international Azhar Mahmood, who are capable of making an impact with both bat and ball.

David Fulton's one to watch... Sam Northeast

Northeast has long been talked about as an England player in the making. He made three hundreds for England Under 19's against Bangladesh last summer, while 128 not out for Kent against Gloucestershire, when he carried his bat, further enhanced his reputation. Should get a start in all forms.

Comments (1)

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Steve Wright says...

I think our batting will sort itself out to be honest,its the all rounder /bowling end of our team that im concerned with.Ok we havent got any main oversea's big name with us this season,which will allow our up and coming players to shine,but i still feel we'll lack a major 100 wicket taking bowler,especially with tredwell away this season.khan is hit and miss is as joseph.

Posted 13:16 7th April 2010

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