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Farbrace gives his thoughts on Kent’s performance in the fine Durham win

Monday 24th May 2010

After Kent completed their first LV= County Championship win of the summer, a comprehensive innings and four run victory over champions Durham, team director Paul Farbrace (pictured) spoke exclusively to the Kent website and could scarcely conceal his delight at the clinical win.

Kent achieved victory inside five sessions and, for Farbrace, it was the performance he was looking for after a tough start to the season:

“I“m delighted with this win because it confirms the belief and quality in the team. Coming into this game we hadn“t won so to put in such a good performance, after the defeat against Durham in the home match, shows the confidence and the spirit in the team. The boys showed lots of fight, determination and guts. People looking from the outside might have thought it didn“t look good but we have always had belief as a group and I“m delighted to register our first win in the championship.”

A stunning afternoon spell from Makhaya Ntini ripped the Durham bottom order to shreds, as they slumped from 172-5 to 195 all out. The South African claimed superb match figures of 10-104 in his final championship game for the county. Farbrace was full of praise for both Ntini and Amjad Khan, who also recorded excellent match figures of 7-72:

“Khan and Ntini bowled really well as a partnership and got their reward together in this game. To take 17 of the 20 wickets to fall is a remarkable achievement. Amjad has flourished having ‘George“ at the other end and, even though he is moving on, he leaves a massive mark on the team because he is a fantastic player to have around.”

Despite the bowlers taking the majority of the plaudits, Darren Stevens continued his fine form by cracking a first innings ton alongside tail-enders Matt Coles (34) and Khan (16*). The lower order combined positively to give Kent a healthy lead; something that Farbrace was quick to highlight along with an improved performance in the field:

“We did well as a team but there were a number of top performances. I was pleased with the batting of Stevens and Coles and then Stevens and Khan in our innings. Those two partnerships yielded a further 150 runs and that was crucial for us. It made a massive difference as it meant we could be a lot more attacking with our field placement.

“Our catching was outstanding; Jonesy took some good takes and kept very well, Stevo scored a magnificent hundred and has played some fantastic cricket for us this year. Everyone has contributed and it is very pleasing that we are working as a team. We will take some great confidence from this win. People are now genuinely looking forward to the next game and we cannot wait to get back to Canterbury for Monday“s game.”

Even though it was a fabulous team effort, the undoubted star of the show was Ntini. The quick bowler signed off from championship cricket in true style. The 32 year-old has breathed new life into the Kent changing room and Farbrace feels vindicated in the club’s decision to find the right man after Australian seamer Stuart Clark withdrew through injury:
“I wanted someone that would bring something to the team; I didn“t just want a top bowler so I researched our options and we took our time. It proved to be the right decision because Makhaya has proved to be a resounding success. He didn“t just come for the finances; we have not paid him a fortune, especially considering what some of the other overseas players get.

“His contribution is massive. He has been absolutely outstanding and I doubt that there are many other overseas players that have made such an impact in such a short period of time. He has bowled lots of overs and, apart from perhaps one spell against Warwickshire where he didn“t quite get it right, many wicket taking deliveries. He has also inspired those around him and everyone now has a story to tell about Makhaya Ntini.”

The man who has taken 390 wickets in 101 Test matches for his country makes his final appearance in Kent colours on Monday against Scotland in the Clydesdale Bank 40 competition, and Farbrace is hopeful the St Lawrence Ground is packed to show their appreciation to a true legend:

“He has been an outstanding signing for us and has given so much time for a bloke with a hundred Tests behind him. He could“ve just gone through the motions but he doesn“t do that and simply couldn“t have given us anymore. I hope lots of supporters turn out on Monday and give him the great send-off that his contribution deserves. I hope that we will see him again in the future because he is a real great of the game.”

Ntini is being replaced by leg-spinning all-rounder Malinga Bandara, in time for the start of the Friends Provident t20 competition and, after working with him when assistant coach with Sri Lanka, Farbrace knows what the 30 year-old can bring to the Spitfires:

“I“m excited about Bandara“s arrival. He is somebody that I know well. With the wickets being dry, and some turn at Canterbury, I“m looking forward to him making an equally impressive contribution. The overseas players are very important and play a massive part – both on and off the field.”

After a tricky start to the season amidst a testing schedule, Farbrace admits that it has been a challenging period for the Kent players but, with confidence now high in the camp, he is already looking forward to the next game against the Saltires at St Lawrence on Monday:

“It has been tough for us. It is, naturally, tougher going when results aren“t going your way. You find the journeys get that little bit longer, when you aren“t winning, but everyone has stuck together and we now have the win that our cricket deserves. Keysy has been very impressive as a leader and we have finally got our reward. It was a huge win and I“m now looking for the players to push on and continue to play good cricket.

“The schedule is pretty demanding but every county is in the same boat. It didn“t help that our flight to Scotland was cancelled. It meant we had to travel Thursday night, straight after the Durham defeat, stay in Wetherby overnight and then complete the journey. I guess that“s why this victory is even more impressive.

“We are pleased to win this game but there will be no wild celebrations. We will just get our heads down, keep working hard and, when we wake up tomorrow, our focus now switches to the game against Scotland on Monday.”

Picture: Sarah Ansell