HEAD COACH HOPING FOR SPECIAL BLAST CAMPAIGN
Kent head coach Matt Walker says his star-studded Spitfires side are capable of ‘special things’ in the NatWest T20 Blast this season.
Kent beat Essex Eagles by seven wickets at Beckenham on Sunday and will seek to build on the opening win when they take on Gloucestershire at Cheltenham at 2.30pm today (Thursday).
They then face a testing trip to a sold-out Oval to face Surrey at 6.30pm on Friday.
Walker said: “It’s a great time of year, everyone gets excited for it, players and fans. There is the anticipation of playing in front of big crowds and the buzz. Fast cricket is what it’s about nowadays. The boys are excited.
“If we can get off to a bit of a flier in this competition, with the side we’ve got then I’m expecting some pretty good things.
“T20 is a format that suits us – if we gel. The side on paper is exciting but there are also some other exciting sides in the group.
“A side on paper only gets you so far, it’s what you do when you cross that white line that counts.
“I am positive, as all the lads are, that if we can play to our full potential, I’m sure we could do something pretty special this year.”
Their opening win was thanks in part to New Zealand international Adam Milne finishing with 2-24 and compatriot Jimmy Neesham 3-37 as the Eagles were restricted to 166-8.
Daniel Bell-Drummond then cracked an unbeaten 90 from just 55 balls to guide Kent to the line in the 19th over.
Walker added: “Jimmy and Adam could be important for us. They are both fine players with international experience and IPL experience. They add to a strong side. Having Sam Billings back is almost like having another new signing, too – he’s hungry and ready to go.”
The well-drilled Spitfires benefited from an eight-hour training session at the County Ground on Saturday, with all fit senior players involved in training rather than being allowed to play club cricket in the Kent League.
Walker said: “We only had one day to really rack a few ideas around and get our points across to the players leading into Sunday.”
Mitch Claydon (side strain) will miss both games but could come into contention for the opening game at Canterbury against Gloucestershire on
‘T20 is a format that suits us - if we gel. The side on paper is exciting’
Tuesday (6.30pm) when the first 4,000 fans through the gates will receive a pair of Spitfires sunglasses.
Overseas player Neesham was delighted to hit the ground running in his first outing for the Spitfires.
He said: “When you come to a new team you want to do the basics right and put the ball in good areas.
“If guys play good shots and get runs then you take it on the chin and move on. You go round the world and play for different teams so it’s become what you do.
“You always want to perform strongly for a new team and show the fans that they’ve got a good one. Hopefully, I can do that over the next couple of weeks.”