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Daniel Bell-Drummond: the early signs are good

Wednesday 3rd June 2015

Men’s First Team

Kent's Daniel Bell-Drummond tells Mark Pennell about the importance of understanding what it takes to be a successful opening batsman at first-class level…

Strength of character, determination and an in-depth knowledge of your technique and mindset are prerequisites to the art of opening the batting.

To be consistently successful at the top of the order, knowing what strokes to leave behind in the dressing room is often as important as the shots that are played once out in the middle. Survival, especially early in an innings, is the key.

With back-to-back hundreds against Leicestershire and Glamorgan earlier this month, Daniel Bell-Drummond is beginning to show that he has the mettle required to follow in the footsteps of illustrious Kent openers of the past – the likes of Key, Fulton, Benson, Taylor, Luckhurst and Denness.

“Facing the new ball in red-ball cricket can be tough sometimes.” conceded the 21-year-old right-hander.

“You never really know if there’s a delivery with your name on it. So, although you want to put the bad balls away, the feeling at the back of your mind is that you want to ‘be there’ at lunch if you’ve started your innings that morning. You’d much rather be out in the middle than back in the pavilion having played a rash shot.

“I’ve kept working on my game, and I’ve been working hard to understand it. I’ve not really changed anything specifically, it’s just how the process develops over time.”

Bell-Drummond says that while risk assessment is an important factor, the type of surface he is batting on will also help to dictate his approach.

He said: “We started off this season at Chelmsford on a green seamer, which was not ideal, so I just tried to get stuck in. Then, up at Old Trafford, there was a lot more pace and bounce, so there’s different things to assess every time you go out.

“The main thing is to find a way to see off the new ball and get through to the next interval with your wicket intact. If you’re still at the crease there’s always the chance to make inroads later in the day when the ball softens or the bowlers tire.”

Though he scored the centuries against Leicestershire and Glamorgan at Canterbury, Bell-Drummond even views those consecutive hundreds in a different light, adding: “The state of the game and the condition of the pitch dictated how I should play on the final day against Leicestershire.

"The pitch was worn out, a few kept a bit low, but my focus was on the team goal, saving the game first and then pushing on to try to force a win.

“The second ton, against Glamorgan, was different because with more grass on the pitch there was more pace and carry. I was seeing the ball nicely and felt in really good nick considering it was still fairly early in the season. So yes, there have been good early signs for me this season. But the key now is to build on my good start and continue my improvement.”

Bell-Drummond added: “We were disappointed not to force the win against Glamorgan but, when we talked about things after, we realised we had turned a corner because there were large chunks of that game that we controlled.

“All credit to the team in general for that performance. Joe Denly and I got the team off to a good start on day one and we never really looked back. The bowlers put in a really disciplined performance, too, on a flat wicket.

“It was always going to be tough to take 10 wickets on that deck and Matt Coles gave it his all, so I believe we can, and should, take credit for getting so close. We never let up, we bowled in partnerships and we gave it our best shot. So we should look back on it as an excellent team performance.”

Kent return to The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence for a four-day match on Sunday (7 June) to take on Derbyshire in the LV= County Championship, 11am start.

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