Denly: I want to stay for the rest of my career

Saturday 14th July 2018

Men’s First XI

Denly: I want to stay for the rest of my career

Kent vice-captain Joe Denly said he’s delighted to sign a long-term contract and wants to spend the rest of his playing days at the club.

The first Kent Cricket Academy graduate to play for England admits he’s in the form of his life and wants to help push his home county to honours this summer.

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The 32-year-old was the first Canterbury-born cricketer to be capped by Kent and extended his second stay at the club alongside skipper Sam Billings earlier this week and says he’s never played better.

“I’m delighted to secure my future at Kent for the next few years and I’m hoping to finish my career here.

“It’s hopefully a while off and there’s lots of good years for myself and Kent ahead of me and delighted to be a part of that.

“I think this is the best form of my life. I’m comfortable and I know my game pretty well and I’m delighted with my current form and I’m really enjoying my cricket.

“It’s great to be back after a few years away and there’s been a few new faces coming in. The team spirit and culture around the dressing room.

Family life has been a great influence on Denly’s resurgence after marrying his partner Stacy and the arrival of his son in recent years.

“I think having Henry a couple of years ago and married life has helped me take care of things off the field which takes pressure off when you go on the field. It put things into perspective in terms of what’s important in life and enjoy playing the game you love.

The man of Kent was thrust in the captaincy on the pre-season FGS Plant Tour with the departure of former skipper Sam Northeast and new captain Sam Billings being away on international duty.

“I was very happy to given the vice-captaincy alongside Sam as captain. When he’s away, it’s been nice to lead the boys. It’s not a dictatorship and I like to keep everyone involved and on the same page. We’re building a great environment around the dressing room.

“To build a successful team, you may not have a team of international players but it’s amazing what you can achieve on the field when you get things right off the field”

Another key to his Indian summer has been overseas experiences with stints in the Bangladesh Premier League and Big Bash League providing a showcase for his all-round attributes.

“Playing in competitions around the world is a bonus to experience different conditions and the next best thing to international cricket.

“Testing yourself against quality players overseas and expanding your game in competitions over the last couple of winters has really helped me and hopefully I can do that again this winter.

He has been breaking records for fun in the last couple of years: setting the club record scores in both 50 and 20-over cricket as well as sharing a mammoth 338-run stand with Sean Dickson at Beckenham, the highest in the club’s history.

“The records mean a lot but I’m sure they’ll be beaten sooner rather than later. As long as I’m scoring runs and contributing to team success, that’s the main thing. Hopefully I can break a few more records.”

He is looking forward to the 167th Canterbury Cricket Week and the challenge of switching between explosive T20 cricket on Friday 20 and 27 with a Specsavers County Championship match with Leicestershire in between.

“We’re used to busy schedules and fortunately we’re challenging for silverware in all formats. The boys are in a good place with the red-ball cricket going well and two great wins before the T20 season started to continue our push for promotion.

“There’s a different buzz around the ground with past players coming in and you gives a true sense of the history of the club.

“It’s always a great week to be playing and hopefully the brilliant weather continues.”

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