Match Preview: Leicestershire v Kent LV=CC, 17 – 20 April

Tuesday 16th April 2013

Men’s First Team

Match Preview: Leicestershire v Kent LV=CC, 17 – 20 April

Leicestershire v Kent

LV=CC Division Two

17 April – 20 April 2013, 11am start

Grace Road, Leicester

Kent open their 2013 summer of cricket with a trip to the Midlands to take on Leicestershire in an LV= County Championship Division Two fixture.

The season so far:

Jimmy Adams' men sat out the opening round of championship matches last week and instead welcomed Cardiff MCCU to the St Lawrence Ground for a three-day clash that rain, sadly, curtailed to just one day's play. Young batsman Daniel Bell-Drummond made the most of the play available scoring a sparkling maiden First Class century in a total of 333 for eight declared. Michael Powell (62), Brendan Nash (46 – batting at number three) and new skipper James Tredwell (41) were also in the runs. Rain ensured Cardiff only faced 12 overs in reply – enough time for Mark Davies to take his first wicket of the season. The students finished on 33 for one with Kent academy graduate Fabian Cowdrey remaining unbeaten on 23.

The elements also played a part in the Foxes opener as they escaped with a draw against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl. The hosts batted first and piled up 454 for seven. James Vince smashed 148 and Australian t20 captain George Bailey weighed in with a typically quick-fire 93 as the promotion hopefuls took control. Medium-pacer Ollie Freckingham returned 3-100 on his First Class debut. The visitors struggled in reply and were bundled out for 143 with Ramnaresh Sarwan top-scoring with 25. After being forced to follow-on, Leicestershire performed better but ultimately they were saved by the rain. Number three Ned Eckersley led the salvation act, making an unbeaten 99, as rain washed out all of the final day with the Foxes on 182 for five.

Previous meetings:

In the corresponding fixture last season, Kent cruised to a 147-run victory at Grace Road. The visitors’ first-innings total of 350 was powered by a gritty century from Brendan Nash. The West Indian shared a sixth wicket stand of 134 with Geraint Jones (52) to help the county recover from 188 for five. With rain taking control as it did for most of last summer, two contrived declarations left the hosts with a victory target of 283 on the final day but they never got close. Former Leicestershire all-rounder Darren Stevens was the main protagonist – returning season-best figures of 5-35 as the home side surrendered to 135 all-out. Kent claimed 21 points from their trip the East Midlands.

In total Kent have played 45 First Class games at Grace Road, claiming victory on ten occasions with Leicestershire winning 13 times.

Click here for a full Leicestershire v Kent Match History, kindly prepared by Martin Moseling

Players to watch:

After being left out of the side at the beginning of last season, opening batsman Sam Northeast bounced back in fine style and will be looking to push on in 2013. The right-hander scored 880 runs at an average of 55, striking three centuries in the process. He was an England under 19s star and now, after a couple of lean seasons, it looks as though he is ready to realise his full potential at the top of the Kent innings.

Former Kent wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien made the short ground hop from Northamptonshire during the winter and has been given the dual responsibility of opening the batting and keeping wicket for Leicestershire this season. The left-hander can be a dasher with the bat, despite averaging just over 26 in First Class cricket. He will be looking to impress for his new county against the side that let him go seven years ago.

Pre-match chat:

New Kent captain James Tredwell leads his side into championship battle for the first time and the off-spinner is understandably excited about the prospect: "We are all raring to go. The weather appears to be perking up and we cannot wait to get going. We have worked hard in practice and now want to take our competitive skills into a match situation. I would be lying if I said that we didn't want to do more in pre-season. We stayed here in the UK and it was difficult. We probably had slightly less outdoor cricket than we would have liked but mentally we are feeling good and looking forward to the challenges ahead. I've had the opportunity to lead the team on a few occasions but it will feel extra special (walking out at Grace Road) knowing that I've got this great honour. I hope that I can do the role justice and am really looking forward to it."

Team news:

Kent name a 12-man squad for the battle at Grace Road. Winter recruit Calum Haggett is included and offers an all-round option, while left-arm seam bowler Ashley Shaw returns to the squad after missing the whole of last season with a shin injury.

Kent: Tredwell (C), Key, Northeast, Nash, Powell, Stevens, Jones (WK), Haggett, Coles, Shreck, Davies, Shaw.

The home side will be without paceman Alex Wyatt after the 22 year-old picked up an injury against Hampshire. He joins fellow bowlers Nathan Buck and summer signing Anthony Ireland on the treatment table. Seamer Robbie Williams and all-rounder Rob Taylor are added to the XI that played in the season opener.

Leicestershire: Sarwan (C), Thornely, O'Brien (WK), Eckersley, Smith, Cobb, Boyce, Thakor, Naik, Taylor, Freckingham, Hoggard, Williams.