Although he only bowled two overs against Pakistan at The Spitfire Ground, Kent spinner Adam Riley was delighted to be back in first team action, writes Peter Burrowes.
The 26-year-old have suffered two seasons of turmoil due to technical issues with his bowling action and only played one match last season against the West Indies during Canterbury Cricket Week but he is now looking to cement a regular place in the side although he faces plenty of competition.
Riley said: “Kent are one of the few county teams who can boast three spinners in their squad, four if you include Joe Denly.
“The early season weather and damp pitches are not particularly helpful to spinners plying their trade but I am looking forward to the competition for places with James Tredwell and Imran Qayyum.
Riley told Peter Burrowes he is feeling much happier with his bowling after a lot of hard work this winter.
The Sidcup-born bowler has tapped into expert advice from Kent second XI coach and former Test bowler Min Patel as well as Jack Birkenshaw, the former England, Yorkshire and Leicestershire off-spinner, both top class spinners in their day, who have helped him iron out the problems he had with his action.
The Kent Cricket Academy graduate said: “I am always looking to be more consistent and get my action stronger and more effective. I am now much more confident about it and have got rid of the bad habits that was coming into it.
“My arm action is now much smoother and repeatable. I feel I am now ready to make my mark again.”
He is full of praise for assistant coach Allan Donald, who has now joined the county on a permanent basis.
“He has brought a different attitude, culture and dynamism to the group and having an extra coach along with Matt Walker has been very beneficial. Alan has considerable experience at international level and his knowhow is invaluable. He has already worked to good effect on improving our fielding skills.”
Riley regularly captains the Second XI and is experienced in that role from his days at Loughborough University, but it is a challenge which he enjoys and will be difficult this season with the side usually a mixture of senior players, Academy youngsters and triallists.
Kent’s number 33 said: “We have to strike a balance between trying to be successful and helping the inexperienced players progress and keep up their confidence levels when things don’t go exactly to plan for them. It is a quick and sometimes harsh learning curve.”
The second team rarely know what kind of team they will field until the day of the game in the case of injuries or call-ups to the first team squad.
“Sometimes we may have four batters and six bowlers and the next match six batsmen and four bowlers. But it is a good challenge which I enjoy.”
Adam hopes to get more overs under his belt and produce some competitive bowling when the Second XI take on Middlesex in a 50 over Trophy match at the County Ground, Beckenham on Tuesday (8 May) followed by a three-day Championship fixture against the same county at the same venue starting on Wednesday (9 May).