Linde targets strong start to T20 season

Wednesday 3rd May 2023

Men’s First Team

Vitality Blast

Linde targets strong start to T20 season

After becoming a new father this March, George Linde is back at Canterbury & is looking ahead to the start of the T20 season at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.

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“I’m really looking forward to getting going again in the Vitality Blast”, he says, after admitting that his 87 from 59 & 45 from 17 against Essex Second XI in his return match in the Second XI Championship last week.

With one more red-ball match before the start of the Vitality Blast at Canterbury, the all-rounder has already got his eye on the change of format – Gloucestershire are Kent Spitfires’ first opponents of the T20 season, under the lights at Canterbury on Wednesday 24 May.

“We have two big home matches in the first three matches, as well as an away tie against Surrey. I know I haven’t been a Kent player for that long compared to some of the other guys, but I have been made fully aware of how much matches against Surrey mean to our Members and supporters, especially when Kent fans take over the Oval for an evening!”

Left-handed Linde took part in the first ever SA20 this Winter – a new franchise tournament based in his home South Africa – with MI Cape Town, the city which he is from, purchasing him in the preceding player auction.

“I really enjoyed playing in the SA20 – it was great to see the tournament watched around the world and putting South African cricket at the forefront of people’s minds back here this Winter.”

Although MI Cape Town didn’t progress to the finals of the tournament, another Kent player took the spoils in the final. “To see Coxy [Jordan Cox] a part of the Sunrisers side that won the competition was also great from a Kent perspective – although personally I would have loved to have won it with MI Cape Town!”

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But talk soon changes back to the Spitfires, with the 31-year-old quickly addressing the team’s performances during 2022 during T20 competition, despite ending up as winners of the One-Day Cup later on that year.

“We all know that we didn’t play to the best of our ability in this competition but the best way to answer our critics is to beat Gloucestershire in our first match of the tournament, under the lights at The Spitfire Ground, and get some momentum on our side at the start of the tournament.”

“T20 cricket is a completely different animal to four-day and one-day matches. Outcomes of games can be decided on the smallest of margins, and every ball really does matter when you’re in a T20 match.”

“I have been proud to be a Spitfire in my time here so far and I’m feeling great – I had to end my time in the UK early last year due to injury but I’m now healthy again and raring to go for 2023.”

Then the inevitable pre-season questions pop up. After re-enforcing his personal goal to contribute towards wins at the front-end of the tournament, he soon selects his ‘unsung hero’ of the current Kent side.

“If I had to say who our most underrated player was going into the Vitality Blast, I’d have to say Grant [Stewart]. We joke in the dressing room that he is the ‘Italian Stallion’ but he really is a top athlete. He’s able to get you wickets with the ball at all points of a bowling innings, and then, like we saw against Yorkshire in the One-Day Cup last year, he can win you matches with superb hitting at the death with the bat.”

And finally, he addresses our supporters directly before he gets ready for the start of floodlit T20 training at Canterbury.

“I hope to see The Spitfire Ground full and bouncing during the Blast – we all feed off a big home atmosphere and as I’ve said before, even the smallest of gains can be decisive!”

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