Parnell returns for Championship trip to Surrey

Wednesday 8th July 2009

OVERSEASstar Wayne Parnell returns to the Kent side for our upcoming LV County Championship match against Surrey, starting tomorrow, at the Brit Oval.

The South African left-armer has returned for his second stint and comes straight back into the team. Academy fast-bowler Warren Lee is also in the 12-man squad.

Vice-captain Martin van Jaarsveld says the return of Parnell will give the team the “added impetus” it needs as we enter the crucial second-half of the season. Kent are currently second in the LV County Championship, nine points behind leaders Gloucestershire. Rob Key“s side are also through to the quarter-finals of the Twenty20 Cup and play the Durham Dynamos later this month at Canterbury.

Van Jaarsveld believes the return of Parnell will be a massive boost to the team: “Wayne is a key player for us. He is massive and bowled well in the World T20 for South Africa. I think that tournament put him on the map as he bowled well with both the new and old ball. He is full of confidence at the moment and cannot wait to get going again in a Kent shirt. He is a left-armer, bowling over the wicket, so that will create some rough for Tredy (James Tredwell) to bowl into and it will bring him more into the game too.”

Kent moved up into second spot following their win over leaders Gloucester in the last round of matches. And van Jaarsveld, who is top of the Kent batting averages, feels the team are reaching good form at the right stage of the season: “It“s nice to get a bit of momentum and the win over Gloucester was a good one for us because they are a serious bowling unit. Surrey will be difficult too. They are a strong team, to play against, and have some very good all-round players. It is generally a good deck to bat on at the Oval so it won“t be easy to bowl them out twice but that is what we need to do.”

Kent have struggled to put runs on the board in the first-innings this season and have lost out on some crucial batting points in the process. Van Jaarsveld has an idea on how to address it: “We have certainly looked into it. We know that we need to improve in our first innings and it is something that we are working at. I strongly believe that we are slow starters in matches and feel that we should perhaps look to bowl first as it takes us a while to get going. I know you face the risk of teams getting away from you but we need to achieve more batting bonus points and we might be able to achieve this by putting the opposition in on a more regular basis.”

The last time Kent played at Surrey, in the LV County Championship, van Jaarsveld enjoyed a game to remember with two unbeaten centuries and five-wickets. He was pretty modest about the achievements when I reminded him: “Thanks for bringing that up! I can still remember the game. It was pretty immense for me and one that I am never likely to forget. It was good to get the two centuries and then take the five wickets with the ball. It was a strange old game and I guess it will be quite a hard act to follow so don“t expect a repeat – although it would be nice!”

Finally, as we enter the second-half of the season, all thoughts turn to the Championship race and whether Kent can achieve an automatic return to Division One. The vice-skipper clearly believes that promotion is an achievable aim: “I think Surrey will certainly be up there because they are a good side but Gloucester will fancy their chances too because they can bowl sides out. I“m pleased that we have got Parny back. He is a key player for us and will strengthen the bowling attack. He will also offer good variety. The batters are also in good nick at the moment so hopefully we can keep things going and get straight back up. That would be nice.”

Kent squad: Key (C), Denly, Jones, van Jaarsveld, Stevens, Kemp, Tredwell, McLaren, Parnell, Lee, Cook, Khan

Picture:Sarah Ansell