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Captain Key reflects on Championship draw at Surrey

Sunday 12th July 2009

KENT captain Rob Key (pictured) was full of praise for his team-mates after an impressive performance, with bat and ball, away at Surrey in the LV County Championship. Despite the best efforts of the bowling attack, Surrey stood firm, at the Brit Oval, to frustrate the Kent bowling attack. Key was pleased with all of his players: “It was a great effort, with bat and ball. It was a very good pitch so I was more impressed by the bowlers because it“s pretty hard work – running in ball after ball. These balls that we are using this year get soft pretty quickly so that made it tougher still for the bowlers. Once we got (Mark) Ramprakash out, in the second-innings, I thought we had a good chance of perhaps forcing the win but it got more and more difficult as the hardness went out of the ball.”

So what pleased the captain most: “I think we did very well to bowl them out for 386 in their first-innings. We bowled very well, as they had the best of the wicket. Full credit to our bowlers, they just kept running in and took ten wickets on a flat pitch. The workload is pretty tough for bowlers but ours just keep running in so that makes my job easier as captain.”

And how pleasing was it to see all the batsman fire with four centurions in the first innings, including Key himself? “It was good to get 400-plus and achieve all of our batting points because we have been struggling to do that, in the first-innings, this season. With our batting line-up, people expect us to do it every game so hopefully now we will start to go big and kick in more regularly with some big scores.”

Key scored a splendid 123, with the bat, sharing in a stand of 247 for the first-wicket with fellow opener Joe Denly. With the crucial second part of the season now underway, his return to form is certainly well timed: “It was nice to get the three figures and I feel like I“m hitting the ball well. It“s not been easy for me – captaining the side when I didn“t feel I was performing – but I“m feeling good again now. Sometimes little flaws do creep into your game and I would like to thank former Kent batsman Neil Taylor. He worked with me a lot, when I was younger, and I had a chat with him up at Beckenham, when we beat Gloucestershire in the last round of matches. It“s not easy, keep changing codes and moving from competition to competition, but Neil spotted a little technical fault and it seems to have made the difference.”

Finally, after completing four tough days at the Kennington Oval, Kent go straight into another Championship match later this week, when they travel to Glamorgan. Key says the travelling comes with the job: “It“s pretty tough but I guess we are getting used to it now. It“s tougher on the bowlers because they work really hard, especially when the sun comes out. Still, it“s nothing new for a seamer in county cricket. They have had pretty heavy workloads for a number of years now! I know we only have a small squad but we have some quality performers. You can have a squad of 30 but if you“ve only got four quality performers then you are still in the same position. I don“t really feel size matters too much although it“s obviously difficult when you suffer injuries.”

Kent“s LV County Championship match, away at Glamorgan, starts on Wednesday. We will keep you fully up-to-date. A match preview will appear tomorrow, here on the official website.

Picture: Getty Images