Blake enjoying extended run in the first team

Wednesday 16th June 2010

A talented youngster has emerged for Kent in recent weeks as left-handed batsman Alex Blake (pictured) has blazed his way into playing a pivotal role in the Spitfires one-day outfit. Now the talented youngster talks to the club’s website about his recent impressive displays and how he plans to make a name for himself at the St Lawrence Ground.

Blake is another graduate of the successful Kent academy who is making a big-name for himself this season as team director Paul Farbrace continues to refreshingly insist on giving youth its chance, with fellow all-rounder Matt Coles also getting a good run in the side.

Blake says he endured a tough start to his cricketing season, whilst still at Leeds Metropolitan University, but now he is back down south he is delighted with the chance to showcase his talents: “I didn“t start the season too well up in Leeds for my university side. I didn“t get many scores but it clicked when I came back to Kent. I got 80 odd against Scotland when we were struggling a little bit so it was nice to get runs at a crucial time. I then batted well in the t20 at Gloucester the other day. It“s pleasing to get an opportunity and to feel a real part of team success.”

The 21-year old played a vital role with the bat last Sunday. His 17-ball 33 helped the Spitfires see off the Gloucestershire Gladiators by 36 runs in their must win FP t20 clash. The innings, that included four maximums, proved the decision to promote Blake above the likes of Darren Stevens and Geraint Jones was the correct one: “It was quite a small ground so there were lot of runs to be had. I was meant to come in at six or seven but Keysy (Rob Key) got out and they were bowling their left-arm spinner so I was promoted up the order. He told me to go and use my feet, with the ball turning in to me and attack the small boundary. It was nice to get a chance to bat and to make a contribution.”

The all-rounder has taken the step from university to first-class cricket in his stride and despite the wealth of talent amongst the Kent batting line-up; Blake is keen to make a big impression: “It is hard breaking in because we have a very strong side; you only have to look at our batting order. We have the likes of Jarre (Martin van Jaarsveld), Jonesy (Jones) and Stevo (Stevens) in the middle order, somewhere I want to bat. With these talented players, it is hard to come in and be a main player. The pleasing thing though is that I“m starting to contribute more so I“m feeling a real part of it – long may it continue.”

Despite announcing himself on the scene as an aggressive hitter in the shorter form of the game, Blake knows that if he keeps improving then he will get a chance to shine in the four-day side: “My main goal, when I chatted with Farby (Paul Farbrace) at the start of the season, was to get into the one-day side on a regular basis and this has happened. I would like a greater chance with the ball as I want to play a part as an all-rounder. If I can start to do this consistently well then I can push for a spot in the championship side. I wasn“t really thinking too much about four-day cricket this year. Obviously I would love to play, and I got my chance against Durham at Canterbury with Stevo away, but the key is to do well in the t20 and CB40. If I can do this then hopefully I will earn my chance in the LV= County Championship side too.”

With his batting talents already evident, the right-arm seam bowler is also looking to impress with the ball as he aims to become an important all-round player for the Spitfires: “I“m enjoying my bowling at the moment. I bowled earlier this week for my university side and took three wickets; I“ve bowled lots of deliveries in the nets and in the warm-up sessions at the start of matches. I“m working hard on my variations and hoping to get a few overs in some of the upcoming one-day matches.”

Away from the cricket field Blake will enter his final year at university after the summer, and unsurprisingly he is planning to use his cricketing know-how to help him boost his final grade: “I“m studying sport, leisure and culture. I get to choose my modules and have recently been looking at politics and mass media research. I have my dissertation to do next year and that will be cricket-related. I“m enjoying the course and everything that goes with it.”

The Spitfires face an important run of FP t20 clashes over the next week, starting with a trip to the Brit Oval on Friday to take on old adversaries, the Surrey Lions. Blake, now established as an important member of the side, is looking forward to pitting his talents against Rory Hamilton-Brown’s star-studded Lions team. Despite his tender years, Kent’s newest star is certainly not overawed by the challenge: “I cannot wait for our trip to Surrey. They are a talented side and play at one of the better stadiums in the country. It is great to play at the Brit Oval because the atmosphere is always special. The Lions might not be playing their best cricket but they have lots of big names. The likes of Andrew Symonds, who played for us, Mark Ramprakash and Younis Khan are all great players. They will make it tough for us but we got a great win last weekend and if we can carry-on our momentum then it will get our t20 going again. We just need to do our basics well and perform on the night. If we can do that then we have an excellent chance of winning the game.”

After our game against the Surrey Lions at the Brit Oval, the Kent Spitfires have back-to-back t20 matches at Beckenham. Rob Key“s Spitfires play the Somerset Sabres on Sunday, 20 June and then play the reverse fixture against Surrey on the following Wednesday.

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Picture:Sarah Ansell