Key urges play­ers to stay and bounce back

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sport -

KENT skip­per Rob Key be­lieves his side must pull to­gether and take col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity for this sea­son’s in­di­vid­ual in­con­sis­tency if they are to bounce back into the LV County Cham­pi­onship top flight next sum­mer.

Not enough runs (par­tic­u­larly in the first in­nings), too many ex­tras con­ceded (es­pe­cially no balls and wides) and the in­abil­ity to bowl sides out, glar­ingly so on the spin and seamer-friendly end-of-term pitches, have all played a big part in Kent’s slide into Divi­sion 2.

There are of course plenty of ifs, buts and maybes, par­tic­u­larly in the cham­pi­onship. But the facts speak for them­selves.

When­ever Kent found them­selves in a high-pres­sure sit­u­a­tion, be it in four-day or lim­ited overs cricket, they usu­ally un­der-per­formed or cracked un­der ten­sion. .

Key said: “We lost in two cup fi­nals and if we’d won the last game of the Pro40 Divi­sion 2 we might have won that too, so suf­fer­ing cham­pi­onship rel­e­ga­tion is a bit­ter pill to swal­low.”

Now the Kent cap­tain is call­ing on his play­ers to re­pel po­ten­tial close-sea­son suit­ors and stay to help ig­nite Kent’s pro­mo­tion chal­lenge in 2009.

It is known all-rounder Ryan McLaren is be­ing tempted by his na­tive South Africa and that Pak­istan all-rounder Yasir Arafat is be­ing lured by ICL cash.

Even player-of-the-sea­son, Martin van Jaarsveld is be­ing linked with po­ten­tial moves to Lan­cashire and Sur­rey.

Yet Key be­lieves his side will not be ran­sacked, adding: “When you’ve got good play­ers and other clubs like Sur­rey are re­ally strug­gling then th­ese ru­mours start to hap­pen.

“It’s prob­a­bly flat­ter­ing for the guys that they’ve been linked with all this stuff, but it’s not the time to scrap ev­ery­thing and start again here.

“Yes we’ve got to ad­dress things in­di­vid­u­ally. We must make sure there aren’t so many ex­tras next year, and the peo­ple who haven’t got the runs they’re paid to get, must get them next year.”

Key, who ad­mit­ted his sea­son’s haul of 686 cham­pi­onship runs (av­er­age of 31) was mod­est, added: “We re­ally haven’t had con­sis­tency. We’ve won four cham­pi­onship games, which wasn’t many short of Durham, but we’ve also lost more games than other peo­ple.”

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