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Key reflects comically on another pre-season

Monday 11th May 2009

KENT captain Rob Key reflects on another pre-season and looks at both ancient and modern team-building exercises for the latest edition of All Out Cricket. The question still remains though; does all of this actually improve your cover drive? Rob reveals all in edition 56, available now. This is what he had to say:

Another season is underway and it“s not until you get outside that you really know if all the hard work put in has actually been of any benefit to your game at all. Countless hours spent on the bowling machine can all be for nothing if you have devised a technique that only works well on a glassy smooth indoor surface.

Pre-season at Kent itself has changed since I first started going as a 15-year-old, 14 years ago. I strolled into the dressing room only to be greeted by the second team coach with a look of utter shock when he saw I“d brought my batting gear, only to be told that I won“t need it. Picking up balls and running around for the boys was to be my job. I worked out pretty quickly that if I wanted to get anywhere I was going to have to earn it. No bad thing.

We also went through a stage of doing ridiculous team-building exercises. One year we turned up at this so called paintballing to be greeted by an ex-army officer who took us through a ridiculous fitness session that I would imagine only Andy McNab would have finished standing.

That wasn“t the end either. We were then told that we were going to be taken blindfolded to a place where we would have to walk the plank. It was explained to us that it was about a 40-metre jump into a quarry of freezing cold water where they would then fish us out. A test of courage, it was called.

It turned out to be a ruse. The plank was actually on the ground and not near a quarry. I sadly didn“t call their bluff and stood blindfolded at the end of the plank, terrified. Ed Smith had on a brand new pair of trainers. He said to the instructor, ‘my dear man, is there any chance I could take my shoes and socks off?“ The instructor obliged but as Ed hit the deck, just below the board, he stubbed his toe and was unable to participate in pre-season for a couple of days.

I may be a cynic, but none of these team-building courses seem to make much difference to the quality of my cover drive.

Rob Key“s article was taken from the latest edition of All Out Cricket magazine. You can purchase your copy in the Eleventh Wicket Club Shop or order a subscription online at

Photo courtesy of Getty Images