Posts Tagged ‘kent’

Kent have well documented problems with wind, and not just after Rob Key‘s gone to town on the baked beans and Scotch eggs. The county has announced that they won’t play any day-night matches in the 2010 season as high winds would cause issues with the temporary floodlights at the St. Lawrence Ground.

Two matches have already been affected, including last year’s Pro40 match with Surrey, which was reduced to 27 overs a side.

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The Twenty20 reaches its conclusion this weekend with the now traditional Finals Day. This year will be the last season of the current format, and will also see the first qualifiers decided for the Champions League after last year’s cancellation.

As well as the exciting prospect of the mascot race being commentated on by Phil Tufnell, the cricket should be of a high standard, with four good sides involved:

  • Somerset, like Kent, are former winners, and the quality of their top order (Trescothick, Langer, Kieswetter…) is beyond question. The bowling is not quite as strong, but if the batsmen make a big enough score that won’t matter too much, and the experience of the older heads will be priceless in the field.
  • Sussex may be missing Matt Prior for Finals Day, but they have quality bowlers in Yasir Arafat and James Kirtley, whilst Luke Wright can make an impact with bat or ball (or both). Defeat in the Friends Provident Trophy final may have sharpened their hunger for success, but Murray Goodwin will need to regain his form if they are to lift the trophy.

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  • Derbyshire have brought in Stuart Law (who was cut loose by Lancashire) to boost their one-day firepower, but he won’t feature much in the County Championship. Charl Langeveldt will also be absent for at least three matches following his acquisition by Kolkatta for the IPL, but captain Chris Rogers is probably the best short-sighted colour-blind ginger cricketer in the world.
  • Gloucestershire, if anything, had an even worse season than Glamorgan, finishing rock bottom of the Championship in 2008. John Bracewell has a tough task on his hands to turn things around, but James Franklin’s arrival will help improve the standard of a bowling attack that struggled so much last year.
  • Northamptonshire struggled to win matches in 2008, so may be secretly hoping that Monty Panesar is dropped by England so that he can take key wickets for his county. The motley crew of Kolpaks and ‘Steelboks’ will otherwise have its work cut out to improve on last year’s showing.
  • Surrey find themselves back in Division Two once again, but the summer’s signings of Andre Nel – who will be available throughout the season – and Grant Elliot will boost their chances of promotion. Mark Ramprakash, of course, is still there, and now that he has passed the 100 centuries milestone, his county will be hoping that the part-time ballroom dancer returns to his form of 2006 and 2007.

A Division One preview will follow tomorrow.

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Amjad Khan called up

Amjad Khan has been included England’s squad for the still-not-quite-confirmed Tests against India. The young Kent quick was included in the squad for the two postponed ODIs last month as cover, and the call-up to the Test side marks a remarkable couple of years for the Copenhagen-born paceman. He missed the entire 2007 season following surgery on his cruciate ligament, and his impressive form following his comeback has obviously impressed the England selectors.

As well as Khan, star of the future Adil Rashid has been promoted from the
Performance Squad to join the full side in order ‘to gain experience’, although it’s very unlikely that he’ll play any part in the Tests themselves.

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Two Kents?

Fans of Kent must be a bit miffed at the moment. Finalists (albiet beaten ones) in the two knockout competitions, promotion contenders in the Pro40 league, but relegated in the County Championship.

Are there two Kents – a good Limited Overs side and a bunch of Four-Day losers? What of Rob Key’s supposed captaincy prowess?

Similar head-scratching, but for different reasons, surrounds the season in general. With big changes on the way, how relevant is County Championship cricket these days? Crowds are pitiful, games often end in near-farce, and Lancashire never win it.

There will probably be some sort of end-of-season round-up of the best (that is, my favourite) bowler, batsman and all-rounder in the Championship this season coming relatively soon.

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Despite a general feeling that this would be a runfest, Kent’s openers were both gone before 20 runs had been scored. Van Jaarsveld and >McLaren made half-centuries to help the Spitfires set a not-too-humiliating 215 as the victory target for Essex, but the Eagles, with the likes of Bopara and Napier in the side, would clearly knock off 215 in no time. Wouldn’t they?

Essex made a good start before Mahmood struck to remove Pettini and Gallian, with Robbie Joseph then getting rid of danger-men Bopara and Cook. Grant Flower stepped up, Stevens dropped ten Doeschate, Essex won with 7 balls to go.

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In tomorrow’s Friends Provident Trophy Final, the Kent of Rob Key, Joe Denly and Yasir Arafat take on the Essex of Ryan ten Doeschate, Ravi Bopara and Graham Napier.

Both sides have been on top limited-overs form this season, with this being their second finals day meeting of the summer. Whilst Kent, on paper, are the better side, I don’t think the match is going to be played on paper this year, and Bopara in particular always has the ability to make a game-changingly big score.

I think Kent will edge it, unless one of Essex’s big hitters goes ballistic.

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