Captain Key already looking forward to next season

Tuesday 20th October 2009

Kent captain Rob Key is hoping that 2010 will be a vintage year for the county after putting pen-to-paper on a new long-term contract.

Key made his first class debut for Kent in 1998 and has since scored more than 14,000 runs at an average of 42.33.

In 2009, he led Kent to the LV= County Championship division two table and was called up by England for the ICC World Twenty20 Cup. So how did he feel the season went?

“We played some decent cricket and did what we had to do,” he told the Kent website. “There was a fair bit of pressure on our shoulders because we were the overwhelming favourites.

“Everyone expected us to win it and, in the end, we did it quite comfortably. We did the job that was expected of us and are now looking forward to our return to division one.”

By Key“s own admission, the season could have gone better for Kent as they showed real promise.

“For me it was very frustrating to start but it came good in the end. We didn“t play particularly well in the Friends Provident Trophy but we played some of our best cricket in the group stages of the Twenty20 Cup. We won the group and then romped our quarter-final with Durham.

“Unfortunately, the final came at the worst possible time. I think we were playing our 13th day of cricket in 14 and we had to take on Somerset without Ryan McLaren. The pitch suited their bowlers more and it was disappointing to go out in that way.”

After a slow start, Key found some good form in the middle part of the season and started to churn out the runs on a more consistent basis.

“It was a tough start for me. I“ve never suffered such a poor time with the bat. I was struggling but then got three hundreds on the bounce. I also recorded a personal best of 270, away at Glamorgan, and that was pleasing. But Derbyshire, here at Canterbury, was the one that pleased me the most. They set us a victory target and we chased them down on a turning pitch.

“It was hard for me, in the run-in, because we were busted flush at the end of the summer. We had no RJ (Robbie Joseph), no overseas player and Ryan McLaren missed a large part of the season. It was a depleted bowling attack and it was hard work for the guys that did stay fit.

“We were pleased to get the league won relatively early because we didn“t want to go into the final month needing a couple of wins. The victories over Derbyshire and Surrey, here, were very pleasing as was the away win at Middlesex.”

Kent have one of the smaller playing squads and suffered several injuries throughout the season. The small group of players made it difficult for Key, as captain, but he reserved special praise for one man in particular.

“It was disappointing not to have more bowling options but everyone did well for the team and it was pleasing to see James Tredwell take 60-odd wickets. We“ve not had that for a few years so it was good for me that I had him bowling long spells at one end.

“Good captains and coaches rely on four or five good bowlers. It doesn“t matter how good you are, you will struggle without a good bowling attack; that is the case from village to test cricket.”

Kent have a new head coach for 2010. Paul Farbrace has succeeded Graham Ford and Key was quick to praise the good job that the South African did at St Lawrence.

“We will miss Fordie because he was a great coach,” Key told the Kent website.

“It“s only when you lose someone that you realise just how good he was. We relied a lot on Fordie and he was good for the team so it will be a big loss but Paul Farbrace is a worthy man to come in and fulfil that role. I“m sure he will continue in a similar vein to Fordie and take the new partnership into a new and exciting era of cricket for Kent.

“It“s a busy time, with Farby and I chatting on different things. We are working on an overseas player, working out the shape of our staff; it“s been quite exciting so far. The new person coming in has freshened things up and there is now a new voice to listen to.”

Key recently signed a new long-term contract with Kent and will continue as captain in 2010. He says it was an easy decision to stay with his home county.

“I was very happy to commit my future to Kent. There were lots of rumours about me leaving the club but I never spoke to any other county. I am, and always will be, committed to trying to win trophies and to bring success to Kent County Cricket Club. I“m sure that we will enjoy a good 2010.”

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