Opening batsman Joe Denly discusses his winter plans

Tuesday 12th October 2010

After a tough 2010 campaign, Kent“s opening batsman, Joe Denly, discusses his form during the season, plans for the winter and thoughts on how the team can bounce back next season.

The right-hander found things tough in LV=county championship cricket as Rob Key“s men suffered relegation from division one, with his haul of 848 runs at 25.69 falling below his personal target. However, Denly impressed in the shorter form of the game as he topped Kent“s CB40 averages, smashing 467 runs at 46.70, and he is keen to highlight the positives: “It was a mixed season for me. The four day stuff was obviously very disappointing. I said at the beginning of the year that I wanted to get 1000 runs so to fall short was frustrating. Things went much better in one-day cricket and I scored a combined total of around 1400 runs. When you take everything into account, it is far from a disaster but, still, nowhere near where I wanted it to be at the start of the season. I think 2011 will be a good year for me. I“m about to embark on a big winter. Hopefully things will go well, so I can come back and perform well next year.”

The 24 year-old is at a bit of a loss as to why his four-day form fell away somewhat. Despite a hectic schedule, along with the heavy roller being banned making tougher for stroke-makers, he is not looking to find excuses for his championship performances: “I“m not too sure why things didn“t go as well as I“d hoped. I will sit down and have a chat with Farby (Paul Farbrace) and work on a few technical things. I would say that 2010 was possibly the toughest year of my career. With the games coming thick and fast, it was hard to work on things and iron out any little technical issues. I think it was also tougher for the openers and batsman in general, because they decided not to use the heavy roller. But I“m not looking to make excuses. I“ve got lots of things to work on and will make sure that I get things right for next year.”

Kent dropped through the championship trap door on the final day of the season, despite overcoming title challenging Yorkshire to cap a tough season where many youngsters were relied upon. However, spirited displays in the shorter form of the game gave supporters a glimpse of a bright future at the St Lawrence Ground and Denly is hoping for a successful 2011: “From a team perspective, it was disappointing not to reach a final or to win a trophy as that was a goal of ours as a team. Everyone knows that we are a good one-day side and we showed it near the end of the two competitions. We did well in the final few t20 matches and then climbed the CB40 table, with several good performances at the end, to eventually finish second. It was very disappointing to go down in the championship but we now need to build on things over the winter and come back hard next year.”

Denly, who has played for England in one-day and t20 cricket, is looking forward to a winter playing cricket down under, but only after he has treated himself to a well-earned rest: “I“m off to Australia in December and am looking forward to playing some grade cricket, as I“ve done in the past. I will be playing for Sydney Cricket Club and cannot wait for things to start. I have played for them before, when they were known as UTS-Balmain Cricket Club, and found it great preparation for the following season. At present, I“m just having a bit of time off but will start hitting balls again early next month.”
The trip to Australia will give the batsman a chance to test himself on fast, bouncy wickets and Denly is looking forward to the challenge but also admits he cannot wait to play in a warmer climate: “It is a brilliant competition (over in Australia) and to go out and play on good fast wickets obviously sharpens you up. As I previously mentioned, it gets you ready for the first class season and it“s a great place to play – with the lovely weather and surroundings.”

With a smaller playing squad likely to be the order of the day at Canterbury next season, the opener is aware of the tough task ahead in 2011 but is keen to play his part in getting Kent back to where they belong: “Along with all of the other boys, I“m looking to have a good season and to make some improvements on 2010. It will be a challenge, with a relatively small squad, but we have some quality players and the aim is to get straight back up into division one of the championship. There are some exciting things happening off the pitch now so hopefully we can play good cricket on it and get people coming to watch in good numbers.”