Key content with stalemate start

Friday 24th April 2009

By Mark Pennell
KENT captain Rob Key was content with 11 points and a commanding performance from his injury-hit side following the county“s four-day LV Championship draw with Northamptonshire on Friday.
Though he would have preferred to have started life in Division 2 with a win, Key could take several positives out of a game that his side more or less controlled.
After shaking hands on a draw Key said: “It was a pretty flat pitch and with four days of sun on it, well it just got flatter.
“With our limited bowling attack it was always going to be hard to bowl them out twice, but we hoped we might and then backed ourselves to chase anything in final innings, but unfortunately we weren“t given a target.
“There were moments in the game where we might have gone on to force the pace, but Northamptonshire were just happy to bat it out for a draw.
“Nicky Boje faced a lot of balls in this game and looks in decent touch; he played very conservatively but did what his side needed of him. It was old school batting in a way and if you took his contribution out of it then we probably would have won the game.
“We had an lbw shout against him in the first innings, toward the end of day one, we were confident about it but it wasn“t given. That may have made a difference. Who knows?
“We also should have scored 500-plus when we batted, had we done so then we probably could have gone on to force a result.”
In praising the display of his weakened bowling attack, Key added: “There are a lot of positives to come out of it as far as I“m concerned. We went into this game with ‘Saggs“, who had hardly bowled a ball in pre-season, a loan bowler in Steffan Jones, Phil Edwards on his debut and Azhar Mahmood (pictured), who wasn“t originally going to play much four-day cricket for us this summer.
“All that considered we still managed to set the pace of the game which is pleasing for me as the captain, it makes you think what we“ll do with a full-strength side on the park.”
Key“s biggest delight in the game was clear, however, and taking his maiden first-class wicket led to unprecedented celebrations from the usually low-key Kent captain.
Remembering the moment when David Willey chopped onto his own stumps, Key said: “I was pretty pleased and couldn“t really hide my delight.
“I thought I might go my whole career without getting a wicket, but know I“ve got one and it goes up there with my other career highlights.”

Picture courtesy of Getty Images