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Kent opener Denly prepares for England duty

Sunday 23rd August 2009

KENT opener Joe Denly (pictured) begins his England career tomorrow when he meets up with his new international team-mates in Manchester. Denly will link-up with his new colleagues before flying to Belfast for Thursday“s one-day international with Ireland. He says he cannot wait for the England experience to begin: “I“m very excited now as there“s not long to wait. It took a while to sink in, after getting the call, but I“m raring to go now and cannot wait for things to start.”

Denly came to the St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury earlier today and picked up his new England kit: “It“s always nice to get new gear and it“s obviously extra special that it“s got the England badge on! I pulled all of the stuff out of the bag and it was pleasing to see my name and number on the back. I“ll be wearing the 55 shirt to start with. I“ve spoken to the kit manager and asked if I can wear six, my number here at Kent. I“ve worn the six ever since I started with the Kent Academy. When they have the next numbers shake-up, I“m told I will get to wear six. It goes back to my younger days. When I used to play football, I played in central midfield and always used to wear that number so I“ve just carried it on with cricket too.”

So how good will it be for Denly, linking up with his new England team-mates? “It will be brilliant for me. I“m going to be playing with quite a few of the guys that have just won the Ashes so I cannot wait to link-up with them all. They will obviously be on a high so hopefully we can take it on and keep things going in the upcoming one-day matches. I know lots of the boys; people like Adil Rashid and Eoin Morgan, who I have spent lots of time with at the Academy. It will be an invaluable experience for me; playing with the best players in the country. I“m sure I will learn a lot and it will help me improve and further develop my game.”

After losing the Ashes series, how hard does Denly think Australia will play in the one-day series? “I think they will come at us really hard. After losing the Ashes, they will be fully fired-up. The Aussies are great fighters and they won“t want to lose both the Ashes and the one-day series. They will want to beat us in the limited-overs games and end their tour on a bit of a high.”

England skipper Andrew Strauss isn“t playing in the game against Ireland so there is every chance that Denly will make his international debut but he isn“t getting ahead of himself? “I haven“t heard if I will play. Obviously I would love to be involved and I“m hopeful that I will get a go but I will just have to wait and see. Andrew Strauss isn“t there so there might be an opening at the top of the innings but I will just have to work hard, go well in practice and hope that I get a go.”

And Denly, who has spent his whole career with Kent, is full of praise for the many talented coaches that have helped him along the way: “I“m delighted to get a go with England and my call-up is a great reward for everyone that has helped me along the way at Kent. We have a great junior set-up and the Kent Cricket Board system, that Jamie Clifford runs, has helped so many players over the years. I started with Kent at the age of 11 and have worked my way up. I feel proud to earn this recognition. I“m the only Canterbury born player to be capped by Kent. Our professional cricket manager, Simon Willis, has played a key role in my development. I would just like to thank Wilco, Fordie (Graham Ford) and all the other coaches that have helped my game over the years. I hope that I will do them proud when I represent England in the upcoming one-day internationals.”