Denly departs for South Africa with his England team mates

Saturday 31st October 2009

England“s cricketers, including Kent“s Joe Denly (pictured), have left the UK, heading for Johannesburg as they embark on their winter tour of South Africa.

Batsman Kevin Pietersen is likely to be fit for the one-day series and Test matches, as he recovers from an Achilles injury, but will not fly out with the rest of his international team mates as he completes his rehabilitation.

It will be Denly“s (JD) second international trip with England, following the recent ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa. Just prior to his departure, he spoke to the Kent website (KW).

KW: You are just about to board the plane, are you excited?

JD: Yes, very much so. I“ve prepared hard for the trip and I“m feeling good so I cannot wait for things to begin now.

KW: How do you expect the tour to go?

JD: I think it will be pretty tough for us but we are playing some good cricket at the moment. We obviously did well in the recent Champions Trophy and beat South Africa in their own back yard. That result gave us lots of confidence but I expect them to come hard at us so I think it will be a well contested series.

KW: How are you feeling personally?

JD: I“m feeling fit. The knee is good and I cannot wait for things to begin. I“ve had a bit of experience now after the one-day series with Australia and then the Champions Trophy. I feel much better for that experience so I“m obviously hoping to impress.

KW: So, do you feel more of a part of things now?

JD: Yes, I guess I do. I was a bit nervy when I started out my England career, as you would expect. I wasn“t sure if I would play and I was the new kid on the block. I now feel a lot more confident and will approach things in a positive manner. We haven“t got long to go now. Things will soon be under way and I cannot wait.

KW: Going into the Champions Trophy there wasn“t much pressure on England. Will there be more pressure this time with people expecting you to perhaps win?

JD: No, I don“t think so. We did well at the Champions Trophy and achieved some good results but we“ve always been a talented one-day side. Beating Australia in the last one-dayer, up at Durham, gave us confidence and set us up nicely for the Champions Trophy. We then played some good cricket in that competition and have continued from there. We have trained hard for this, as a side, and really want things to get going now.

KW: Are you looking forward to going back to South Africa?

JD: Yes, I am. It will be good fun. And I“m expecting to see more of the surroundings this time around. We didn“t get out much during the Champions Trophy but we will get more opportunities this time. We are dropping down in Johannesburg and will play the Diamond Eagles soon after we arrive. I“m not sure if Ryan McLaren will play for them but it will be good to catch up with him if he is involved in the game. We will get to see Cape Town and other picturesque parts of the country. I cannot wait to get out there. I“m sure we will get a greater chance to have a look around and I“m looking forward to taking in the different parts of the country.

KW: Finally, you go with the best wishes of all Kent members and supporters. Have you received lots of other good wishes?

JD: The phone has been pretty manic with people wishing me well! Lots of friends have been in contact and I am genuinely touched that so many people will be watching and backing me. Hopefully I will enjoy a great tour. I“ve prepared well for it and I“m happy that so many people will be backing me from back home.

The Kent website will keep you fully up-to-date with Joe“s progress in South Africa and we will carry exclusive interviews with him throughout the tour. Keep visiting for all the news as it happens.

Photo: Getty Images