Hall’s return boosts Kent
KENT hope to receive a massive selection lift ahead of their Bank Holiday weekend fixtures with the arrival of World Cup all-rounder Andrew Hall, writes MARK PENNELL.
The 31-year-old, who played in South Africa’s semi-final clash with Australia despite carrying a quad muscle injury, is scheduled to arrive in England on Friday evening having been given the all-clear over his fitness by the South African cricket board.
That being the case, Hall will be available for Sunday’s crucial Friends Provident Trophy clash with Essex in Chelmsford, Monday’s fourth qualifier with Middlesex at St Lawrence and then Wednesday’s four-day LV Championship game with Durham at the Riverside.
This will, however, be the third season running Hall’s arrival at Kent has been delayed. The previous two occasions were down to late fixture additions to the South Africa calendar, but this time it has been Kent’s insistence over the player’s fitness and ability to meet his contractual obligations that has led to the hold-up.
Confirming the situation, Kent’s chief executive Paul Millman said Hall had been receiving treatment for a thigh injury and that he expected him to pass this week’s fitness test with the United Cricket Board of South Africa medical team.
He said: “Andrew has been receiving treatment for a slight quad strain since the semi-final but we didn’t want him coming here until he had been given final clearance by the South African board.
“It’s the principle of them passing their player off the square and handing him over to us fully fit that’s at the heart of this. We don’t want to be in a position whereby we take Andrew on, have him break down and be responsible for his treatment.
”Mr Millman confirmed he too had heard speculation surrounding South Africa’s possible involvement in a triangular one-day series in Ireland from mid-June, but he believes the event, which has yet to be given ICC ratification, will be a low key affair. It would seem likely that UCBSA will, if required to play in Ireland, name a development squad for the event which should ensure Hall would remain with Kent on county duty.
Hall’s arrival will be a timely one for Kent skipper Rob Key, who has seen his bowling options restricted by early season knocks to Martin Saggers (hamstring) and Min Patel (neck and elbow). With a smaller squad and a misfiring side, Key will be hoping to name Hall for Sunday’s visit to Chelmsford, where Spitfires boast a very modest one-day record.
Several Kent players have gone on the record in recent years to say they find the New Writtle Street venue one of the most intimidating grounds in the country and this weekend’s clash is unlikely to prove an exception.