KENT CRICKET

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Matt Walker be­lieves Joe Denly de­serves an­other Eng­land call-up fol­low­ing his per­for­mances for Kent this sea­son.

The 32-year-old has starred in all for­mats this sum­mer and has been tipped by many for a call-up to the na­tional side for the tour of Sri Lanka this winter.

Eng­land s e l e c t or Ja m e s Tay­lor watched Kent’s County Cham­pi­onship at Lord’s this week and re­port­edly viewed the away game at Le­ices­ter­shire ear­lier this sea­son, specif­i­cally to watch Denly.

Head coach Walker said: “With­out ques­tion he has the qual­ity. He’s turned his game around. Three years ago he man­aged to put right a lit­tle tech­ni­cal thing and he’s grown up as a bat­ter.

“I know there will al­ways be an ac­cu­sa­tion of sec­ond team runs play­ing in this league but he is a qual­ity player. He has all the at­tributes to be an in­ter­na­tional crick­eter again.

“I know he has been talked about and that could be dis­tract­ing but he just keeps go­ing and scor­ing runs.

“Whether he does get on the tour or does not, it doesn’t change the fact of how well he has played this year and what a bril­liant player he is.

“He is still young enough to have an­other stint at it, in my opin­ion. We will have to wait and see.”

Denly has scored 768 runs in the Cham­pi­onship this sea­son, in­clud­ing three hun­dreds, and has also taken 18 wick­ets at an av­er­age of below 21.

He led the way for the Spit­fires in the Vi­tal­ity Blast com­pe­ti­tion with the most runs (409) and wick­ets (20).

The all-rounder hit 492 runs on Kent’s way to the Royal Lon­don One-Day Cup fi­nal and also broke a club record with his 150 not out in the group stages. He took 14 wick­ets dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion.

Walker said: “We are proud of what he has done and he should be, too. Joe has be­come much more than a part-time spin­ner. He’s gained con­fi­dence this year by be­ing bowled a lot more than in re­cent years.

“He’s a real threat, es­pe­cially at the end of an in­nings. You give him the ball and it makes it hard for tailen­ders. He’s got a lot of im­por­tant wick­ets.

“We haven’t been able to play an out and out spin­ner much this sea­son but when you have Joe in your ranks, it gives you that any­way. It is a lux­ury we have now.”

Denly re­turned to Kent from Mid­dle­sex at the start of 2015 af­ter three sea­sons at Lord’s.

He has not looked back from there and has gone on to pro­duce some of his best sea­sons as a player.

Walker said: “It does hap­pen to play­ers when the penny drops and you get com­fort­able with your tech­nique.

“You grow up and he’s had a child. He be­came set­tled when he came back here and has ma­tured as a player. He knows his game in­side out now and deals with the dis­ap­point­ment bet­ter.

“The great thing about Joe is that he is a multi-di­men­sional crick­eter. He scores runs in all for­mats, now what he does with the ball and his field­ing means he is top range.”

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