2018 Cricket Season Preview: Kent CCC

2018 Cricket Season Preview: Kent CCC

Previewing Kent's fortunes for the upcoming campaign.

Jack Groom

Here, Kent fan Paul Barnes gives his thoughts on all areas of his side ahead of the forthcoming season.

2017 Season

County Championship: Fifth - Division Two

Royal London One-Day Cup: Ninth - South Group

Natwest T20 Blast: Sixth - South Group

INSMatt Henry, Heino Kuhn, Adam Milne (T20 only), Harry Podmore, Ollie Robinson and Marcus Stoinis (T20 only)  

OUTSAdam Ball, Hugh Bernard, Matt Coles, Charlie Hartley and Sam Northeast 


What are your hopes for the County Championship, Royal London One-Day Cup and Vitality T20 Blast for this season?

As usual at this time of year there is optimism in the air but usually, after only a couple of games, it disappears.

In the Championship we have been in Division Two for a while now and it shows. We’ve got a good squad but with only 14 matches split more or less equally between each end of the season they can’t afford to lose or even draw the first few matches or else they’re forever playing catch-up.

The appointment of Allan Donald as an assistant coach should improve our bowling.

The 50-over competition was pretty disastrous for us last season so we can only hope for better this season.

I don’t watch the T20 but I assume that Adam Milne and Marcus Stoinis have been signed up principally for this competition to bolster our chances. We also have a big hitter in Alex Blake.

How do you feel about newly-appointed club captain Sam Billings being absent for the opening weeks of the season to play in the IPL?

I cannot see the point in appointing Billings as captain when he’ll be absent from the first few games playing in the IPL & then will almost certainly be called up for England during the season.

Of the 11 days of County Championship cricket & three Royal London One-Day Cup games that we watched last season Billings was behind the stumps on only one occasion. I thought Joe Denly would’ve been a better choice.

How big a miss will Sam Northeast be, and do you feel you have players to step up and replace him?

Most Kent supporters never really took to Sam as Captain as he never seemed to motivate the rest of the team and was very reluctant to declare until it has been too late to win the match. He will be missed for his runs however as he usually makes well over 1000 runs a season.

If Denly has a good season and Heino Kuhn plays well they should be able to fill his boots.

We’ve also got Daniel Bell-Drummond, Sean Dickson and the evergreen Darren Stevens (although he was a bit short on runs last season ) and a guy called Zak Crawley, ex-Academy and second XI who scored a century against Surrey in a pre-season friendly.

What are your thoughts on new additions Heino Kuhn, Matt Henry and Adam Milne?

We are not a rich club financially and therefore overseas signings are usually not off the top shelf.

Unfortunately, they never seem to settle in (maybe because we’re second division), often get injured and quite often are recalled by their country. 

I don’t know much about Matt Henry or Harry Podmore but again they’re probably just also-rans and all the club can afford. I’d sooner they gave our own youngsters a chance.

Who do you think will be the next bright, young talent to come out of the Canterbury academy?

From what I read it's Ollie Robinson: 19 years of age, wicket-keeper and right-handed batsman. Seems to be good all round.