We’ll bounce back

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Classified - by An­drew Gi­d­ley

KENT chair­man of cricket Gra­ham John­son says prepa­ra­tions for the 2009 cam­paign be­gan min­utes af­ter their rel­e­ga­tion was con­firmed last Septem­ber.

Speak­ing at the club’s an­nual meet­ing at the St Lawrence ground on Mon­day, John­son de­scribed 2008 as a “sea­son of frus­tra­tion”.

He told mem­bers: “There was a meet­ing in­volv­ing Ge­orge Kennedy, Paul Mill­man, Gra­ham Ford, Rob Key and my­self.

“We fo­cused on the huge dis­ap­point­ment and said ‘are we up for 2009’ and ‘what are we go­ing to do about it?’ No­body in that room was any­thing but pos­i­tive.”

John­son also praised the club for not cut­ting the play­ing bud­get of around £2mil­lion de­spite the club’s fi­nan­cial prob­lems, and hailed it as “a state­ment of in­tent”.

He went on to cover a range of top­ics which he said will af­fect the way Kent op­er­ate this sea­son and next.

John­son said: “The im­pact on the game by ter­ror­ism means that there are a lot more rules and reg­u­la­tions on play­ers com­ing into the coun­try apart from Aus­tralia and New Zealand, and they won’t only af­fect coun­ties.

“Clubs in the Kent League Premier Divi­sion will find many young play­ers who walked in last sea­son won’t get in un­less they qual­ify.”

John­son in­formed mem­bers about ECB pay­ments to coun­ties over the next cou­ple of years which will ben­e­fit coun­ties with more English qual­i­fied play­ers in their squads.

Per­for­mance

He said: “ A sig­nif­i­cant pro­posed change com­ing in 2010 is go­ing to be weighted in terms of Eng­land qual­i­fied play­ers.

“There are a whole range of things we have to get right, and the whole per­for­mance el­e­ment is chang­ing. We have to be aware of that and re­spond go­ing for­ward.

“IPL has a po­ten­tial im­pact on all our play­ers, but only one – Ryan McLaren – has a con­tract.

“We have taken the de­ci­sion as a club not to stand in his way and have also been made aware in the last week that some­body like Am­jad Khan is at­tract­ing lots of in­ter­est.

“It’s still a mov­ing feast, and we will try and ac­co­mo­date that.”

John­son touched on the idea of Twenty20 City Fran­chises where teams would rep­re­sent big cities and Kent would have no di­rect in­volve­ment.

He told the meet­ing the county would have ben­e­fited by £1mil­lion had it gone ahead, even though Kent would have had no di­rect in­volve­ment.

THREE mem­bers were re-elected to Kent’s gen­eral com­mit­tee on Mon­day. John Clark (246 votes), Richard Collins (396) and out­go­ing pres­i­dent Peter Mor­gan (400).

David Ful­ton

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