Key back to lead Kent

Monday 4th May 2009

KENT skipper Rob Key returns to the side for tomorrow“s LV County Championship match with Glamorgan at Canterbury.
Key was on England Lions duty last week and missed the fantastic victory over Essex at Chelmsford.

This is the first time Kent have played the Welsh county since 2005 and all-rounder Darren Stevens, in particular, has fond memories of that game. He hit 208 – his highest score for the county – in that game at St Lawrence.

Earlier this season he came close to beating the score but was pleased when rain prevented him from hitting a double ton against Loughborough students as he explains: ‘I“m looking forward to Glamorgan. Obviously I have happy memories from my last Championship game against them. I thought I might beat that score at the start of this season but fortunately it started to rain against Loughborough as I was closing in on my highest score. I was glad because I would prefer my personal best to come against a first-class county rather than a UCCE.“

Stevens has got off to a fine start this summer and scored a crucial century in the recent win over Essex at Chelmsford: ‘I“m hitting it nicely at the moment. I worked on a few things over the winter and it“s going well for me. I think it“s important to try and keep the game simple so that is what I try to do. Fortunately things have started well this season so I“m in a happy place at the moment.“

Glamorgan haven“t enjoyed the best of times in recent seasons but Stevens can see that changing under their current coach, Matthew Maynard: ‘Matthew was a good cricketer and he is obviously teaching their players the right values. They generally rely a lot on their spinners but they“ve got some good youngsters coming through. They will prove decent opponents for us. I view them as a good young side, very much on the rise.“

Finally, how does the 33-year-old rate Kent“s start to the new season? ‘Things are obviously going well for us. It was disappointing to lose to Somerset in the way we did but apart from that we have been going well. It was a shame the Northants game went the way it did but if we had batted first then it would“ve been a different outcome – I“m sure of that. The last three wins have been fantastic and I think it obviously bodes well for the season. We have some good players and I“m hopeful that we can continue our good recent form in this upcoming game against Glamorgan.“

Kent have named a squad of 12 for the match: Rob Key (C), Sam Northeast, Geraint Jones (W), Martin van Jaarsveld, Darren Stevens, James Hockley, James Tredwell, Wayne Parnell, Steffan Jones, Rob Joseph, Martin Saggers and Simon Cook.

Glamorgan will select from the following 13 players: Gareth Rees, Michael O’Shea, Ben Wright, Michael Powell, Jamie Dalrymple (C), Tom Maynard, Mark Wallace (W), Robert Croft, Dean Cosker, David Harrison, Garnett Kruger, Adam Shantry and Huw Waters.

The umpires for the game are Jeremy Lloyds and Peter Willey.

Darren Stevens action shot courtesy of Getty Image