Performance Cricket: Director of Cricket Q & A

Tuesday 16th August 2022

Performance Cricket: Director of Cricket Q & A

Following a request for questions in place of a Member’s Forum during Kent’s LV= Insurance County Championship match against Northamptonshire, Kent’s Director of Cricket has answered queries submitted by the Club’s Members.

Paul Downton has provided updates on a range of topics affecting the Performance Cricket department at the Club from Members’ questions:

Q: What is the Club’s current thinking on proposals from the ECB for restructuring of county cricket from 2023?

A: There are challenges across the game in terms of scheduling, as we have seen this year with the number of injuries we have sustained here at Kent.

We do not yet have any steer from the Performance Review lead by Sir Andrew Strauss on what will be proposed ,but in due course the views of all 18 counties will be represented in discussions concerning scheduling.

Any potential changes will need to be voted through by the majority of counties.

Q: How happy are we that we are signing the best reasonably available overseas players to support our local efforts, and how happy are we with the young locally developed talent coming through?

A: Finding the best overseas player is a really important but complicated thing to get right. The biggest problem is availability due to the IPL and International series which are constantly being added to.

For example, we originally secured Matt Henry for the second half of this season to play six Championship matches and the Royal London Cup. After we agreed the contract, New Zealand Cricket announced ODI and T20 series against Ireland, West Indies and Australia during the period we had signed him for. It makes life difficult when recruiting overseas players.

An enormous amount of work goes into trying to get it right. We look at our needs, which has generally been to strengthen our ability to take 20 wickets in Championship cricket, and wicket taking ability in T20 cricket. Our batting, on paper at least, has been our strength. Budget also comes into it – the highest paid overseas stars are sometimes out of our reach.

Regarding local talent; we have seen Zak Crawley, Ollie Robinson, Jordan Cox, Marcus O’Riordan and Jas Singh emerge over the last few years to join our professional staff. We also have some very promising 15 and 16 year olds at the Club, who we have high hopes for, and we continue to invest in our Talent Pathway.

Q: What efforts are being made to step up recruitment of additions to the bowling attack for the 2023 season?

A: We are continually trying to strengthen our squad of players. There is no football-style transfer market to dip into in our game, so it is about understanding who may be available and being as smart as we can regarding overseas players.

We are delighted that Joey Evison has joined as an all-rounder although we mustn’t put too much expectation on a 20 year-old, and allow him time to develop into the exciting cricketer we believe he will become.

Q: Can Kent players who are in The Hundred and not selected be made available for the Royal London Cup?

A: No, it is a condition of The Hundred playing regulations that players are not allowed to be released to play for their counties whilst the competition is still going on.

It is a pity as, for example, Jack Leaning has not been selected for the Oval Invincibles when he could have played for Kent in all five of our matches in the Royal London Cup.

The next topic to be covered will be a Match Day Operations update from Director of Operations, Nimmo Reid, which will be published shortly.

Following on from CEO Simon Storey’s update previously published, applications for Members wishing to apply to be a part of the Members Working Group are still open.

Please e-mail with an Expression of Wish by Monday 19 September, and a member of the Membership Services team will be in touch and provide further details.

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