Hall’s re­turn boosts Kent

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - SPORT -

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.

De­layed

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.

In­juries

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.

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