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Mark Ealham: Bowlers need thick skin to excel in NatWest T20 Blast

Thursday 14th May 2015

Men’s First Team

The bowlers on both sides will be under pressure as Kent Spitfires take on neighbours Sussex Sharks at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence in the opening NatWest T20 Blast fixture tomorrow night, writes Mark Pennell.

Bowling coach Mark Ealham hopes the Kent attack can hit the ground running in this season’s NatWest T20 Blast after encouraging displays in limited-overs cricket but must be prepared to perform under pressure.

The former Kent and England all-rounder, who won 64 international caps, said: “We’ve not had the best of starts in the championship so, with such a young squad, I think it’s imperative that we get off to a strong start in this year’s group games.

“The guys played some good T20 cricket last summer and reached the Royal London Cup semi-finals, so they know the ability is there.

“Tactically I want our bowlers to go out there with very clear plans and very thick skins, because in this format they will need both. I have every sympathy for young bowlers going into T20 these days because there is so much pressure on them, but there is a place for them in the Kent side just as long as they can execute their skills.

“If they have seven days, seven matches out of 10 where they bowl fairly solidly, but have three games where they’re left pulling their hair out, then I’d say that’s a pretty good percentage for the format.

“But to get to that level, to enjoy those percentage successes, they need to work hard on honing skills and plans.

“With tiny boundaries and heavy bats, T20 is heavily weighted in the batsman’s favour so, in order to keep the spinners involved in the game, I’d like to see a rule change whereby they are allowed an extra fielder outside the circle.”

Paceman David Griffiths has recovered from a pre-season tricep injury to be considered for selection as head coach Jimmy Adams considers his options for the shortest format of the game.

Honours finished even in these fixtures last year when Sussex travelled back to the south coast with a win under their belts in Canterbury, while Kent reaped revenge by three runs in the return game in Hove.