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From the CEO’s Chair – Jamie Clifford’s Blog, 19th October

Wednesday 19th October 2011

The last month has been a turbulent time for the Club. We didn’t expect to end the season saying goodbye to two of our senior batsman and our Director of Cricket. This has meant an intense period shaping our future approach. We have covered all areas, both on and off-field, to ensure we move forward as positively as possible. It is a work in progress, but I believe we now haveshape to the future direction of our cricket. Over the coming months we will continue to work to ensure that next year and beyond we are as competitive as possible. I thought I would therefore take the opportunity to update on cricket related matters:

Captaincy

I am delighted that Rob has committed to being Club Captain. He has a wealth of experience, and through this period of change that will be invaluable. I have spent time with him over the last couple of weeks and his passion for Kent cricket continues to burn. Rob is determined to ensure the next period in the Club’s history is very positive, and he will provide the stability and leadership we need. We have also spent time with the senior players and it is excellent to report that they are very focused on future success and are totally supportive of Rob continuing to lead the side.

Player Recruitment

We have committed to a period of recruitment from outside the county – this is necessary to fill some of the gaps that currently exist. We have contacted all UK based player agents and they have provided details of players currently out of contract, those seeking county roles or those planning to come to the UK in 2012. A long list of some 60 playerswas produced and I have worked with Rob and Graham Johnson (Chairman of Cricket) to establish a priority. Discussions have commenced with these players/agents, and some early progress has been made – watch this space.

There was a rumour that Charlie Shreck was having second thoughts following Paul Farbrace’s departure – this was not true. He has been to Canterbury in the last couple of weeks and is excited about his future with the Club.

Current Players’ Contracts

Discussions continue with out of contract players and I hope to have positive news on these shortly. In addition, we expect to hold discussions with all players due to come out of contract in 2012 regarding their futures, and the Club will be seeking to ensure stability. It is important that we have one eye on future years and this will be a key element of our planning.

Coaching

The process begins today for the recruitment of a Head Coach.Adverts will go out and applications sought by an early November deadline. There has already been global interest in the role, and I am hopeful that we will have a strong list of candidates.

Pitches and Practice Facilities

Chris Wood, ECB Pitches Consultant, came to the St Lawrence Ground at the end of the season. He put together a detailed programme of action that, it is hoped, will see an improvement in the quality of pitches. Much of the work required has already been undertaken during the last month. In addition, work has progressed to establish a ‘training ground’ at Polo Farm (Canterbury Hockey Club). This will provide grass practice wickets, as well as artificial wickets, that players will be able to use. This should reduce the impact to the Woolley practice nets and provide a good training environment.

Cricket Management

It has been decided that a Cricket Operations group will be formed, which will be made up of Chairman of Cricket, Captain, CEO, Head Coach and Academy Director. This group will be responsible for shaping cricket strategy and management. As a Club we will continue to use the expertise, knowledge and commitment of former players to ensure that we take cricket management in the right direction. In this way we should be able to act in a more dynamic way with leadership at the heart.

I acknowledge that this has been a tough period for the Club, but I can confirm that there is total commitment from all to ensure future on-field success. We will continue to keep you informed on cricket matters throughout the winter.