It’s been a busy few weeks since I last blogged, full of highs and lows as every cricketer experiences throughout their career.
We went into the County Championship game with Essex during Canterbury Week believing we had a good chance of pushing for top spot in the table, but it wasn’t to be and we quickly put that performance behind us.
From there, we finished that week on a high as we comfortably beat Derbyshire in the CB40 with Sam Billings getting his ton.
It was one of those games, like I seem to have been involved in lately, where I come in towards the end and play with a bit of freedom and chip in with a score.
The following day we went up to Edgbaston and once again we were comfortable winners against Warwickshire in the CB40 with the bowlers earning the credit for what was another great result.
Going straight from there to Bristol meant we were in town on the Tuesday night with some time to kill, so myself and some of the other guys, Alex Blake and Adam Riley included went to watch The Gills play Bristol City in the Capital One Cup.
Going to the football was probably the highlight of that wet week. It was good standing in the away end cheering on for Mad Dog’s Barmy Army! When I’m away it’s good to get away and do something like that and it’s important to go and support your local side.
After the washout at Bristol against Gloucestershire, we switched our attention back to the CB40 and looked to treat every game like a final.
That knock myself and Nashy put in at Northampton was pleasing and got the side home. We were really starting to build up some momentum by beating Yorkshire too, but we came up against a brick wall against Sussex.
I was hoping it would rain down in Cardiff, they would get to the final of the T20 and win, then be so hungover that they wouldn’t feel like playing us, but they are such a dangerous side and with two international batsman at the top of the order in Luke Wright and Matt Prior, they were incredible.
We knew we were a bit light on 210, so we were up against it and once they got the start and carried on the way they did, we almost didn’t know how we were going to get a wicket.
I managed to get a few more runs, but again I came out with freedom in the back end of the powerplay and I was lucky enough that a few found the middle and went over the ropes.
Some people have said they felt Yorkshire put out an under strength side against Warwickshire, but that’s their prerogative as they weren’t in with a chance and it wasn’t to spite us and I’m sure if the shoe was on the other foot, we may well have done the same.
A lot has obviously been spoken about in the last week or so about the Kevin Pietersen situation with England.
I know both Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower will have been disappointed with what has happened. I’m sure there has been even more go on than even we know. They had to take drastic action, but it will be interesting to see where this goes now as I think he has got a lot of work to do now to get back in. To be fair, England are a better side with him in the side, but those negotiations will need to go well for that to happen.
On Wednesday we heard the news that Straussy was going to retire from cricket and I must say I am deeply honoured to have played with him.
Being shirt number 623 and Straussy being 624, we played a lot of cricket together. My first Test was the last Test of the West Indies series and he made his debut at Lord’s against New Zealand.
I guess the first 30 odd Tests he played, we played together and formed a good relationship and became pretty good mates. We’re both pretty similar characters and when everyone was out celebrating, we would look at each other and know it was going home time.
It was pretty obvious from early on that he was a potential future England captain, with his character and the way he went about his business. He was one of these guys that had an aura about him and for him to go on and captain the side was destined.
One of my highlights playing with him was the Old Trafford Test against Australia in 05 when it came off his knee and looped up to me to take the catch to get rid of Shane Warne.
I took the catch and ran straight to Vaughany as I sensed that could well be a turning point in the series.
Andrew was overlooked for the captaincy for the 06/07 tour to Australia with Fred being named captain and that was probably right at the time for the way that Fred had been in 05, but it was only right that Straussy went on to captain the side and along with Andy Flower, they have formed a great bond and understanding.
I think Straussy took over at the right time for him and he’s finishing at the right time for him.
He’s looked hard at himself and he’s always been that kind of character. If he believes that he didn’t warrant a place in the side, he’s not the kind of man that will hang around and become a passenger, he’s too proud for that. It’s possibly a shock for quite a few, but from what I understand, he’s been thinking about it for quite a while.
For me, what makes Straussy stand out and what will make him go down as one of the great captains is the fact that whenever I have been out with him, he hasn’t changed since he first walked into that dressing room.
He was always level headed. He could mix with the lads and enjoyed celebrating as much as anyone, but for me his whole character meant he was destined for great things and it doesn’t surprise me that he went on to do as well as he did.
I talk to Treddy about him and he says that his team talks are incredible and I think that is a big part he will leave for this current England team.
I think that might be why this Kevin Pietersen stuff has hurt him so deeply over the last few weeks. I believe him when he says it wasn’t a contributing factor, because he had thought about it for a while.
Alastair Cook comes into the role and for me he is the ideal choice. He’s similar to Strauss and you can tell that he is a stable character. He’s earnt the respect with the bat and he’s quite young, so he will build on what Strauss and Flower have built and take it on.
We also heard that Treddy has been called into the England squad once again. It’s testament to him that they keep calling upon him as they know he is dependable and know what they will get from him.
I know Treddy would prefer to be chosen in squads from the start, but resting Swanny means he should get chances and hopefully he gets his chance to play.
As I write this latest blog, we are two days into the Championship game here at Grace Road against Leicestershire.
The first day went well for us and we chalked up 322 for 6 with Brendan Nash chalking up a century and I managed to chip in with a fifty, but yet again the weather forecasters have been right and we lost all of day two to the weather.
We now know we have got a challenge on our hands to try and win this game from here and we will have to see where we go in terms of a declaration and we will have to push it to get that win.
We know we will have to bowl them out twice so it could prove to be an exciting last two days.
Getting the afternoon off meant I got to go to the cinema with a few of the guys. We went to watch Total Recall and from what I saw, it was an ok film, although I managed a twenty minute sleep in it.
When I fell asleep there was lots of shooting and when I woke up there was lots of shooting, so I guess I didn’t miss much of the plot. I guess it beats sitting in a hotel room!
This week I believed was set to be my 100th consecutive County Championship game, but it transpires it is my 99th and hopefully I will play next week against Derbyshire at Canterbury.
It will be a real honour to have made the milestone as I am extremely proud to be playing for Kent and more so as it is my Benefit Year.
The Benefit has still been going well and thanks to all of you that made the trip to the Shepherd Neame brewery tour and meal.
We’ve still got quite a lot to do once the season has finished with a golf day planned and a meal at Parliament, so it would be good if you can check out the site – www.geraintjonesbenefit2012.co.uk
I must also pay special credit to both Ian and Karen Leach for once again taking the buckets around Canterbury on Bank Holiday Monday. Word is that they came back with some heavy buckets, so thanks to those guys for all their hard work.
Until the next blog,
– Geraint Jones writes a regular blog for KSN – KentSportsNews.com