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Riley relishes responsibility of spinning for the Spitfires

Tuesday 16th June 2015

Adam Riley stepped up as Kent’s frontline spinner in the NatWest T20 Blast during James Tredwell's recent injury lay-off and it is a role the Sidcup-born bowler admits he relished.

“It’s been brilliant so far,” saidthe 23-year-old. “Some say T20 is a batters’ game and it probably is, but I really enjoy it. I have to say we’ve played on some really flat wickets and there has been precious little by way of spin, but our batsmen have come up trumps both in posting huge scores and in chasing them down.

“It’s not always easy as a bowler to stem the flow of boundaries in T20, but it sure helps when you know you’ve a strong in-form batting order that isn’t afraid of chasing anything down.”

Riley added: “Some people appear to have underestimated us this year and have classed us as underdogs in the South Group, but we’ve gone out and proved a few of them wrong.

“The way we’ve started, I see no reason why we shouldn’t take huge belief from what we’ve done so far and carry it through for the rest of the tournament. There will be days when we don’t play as well, but we’ve beaten four really good sides in the format so far and have taken great confidence from that.”

Riley, a LV= County Championship stalwart for Kent over the past two seasons, admits he changes very little in terms of his bowling technique for T20, other than his pace and the angle of delivery.

"You just have to try to find a way of keeping the ball in the park, it’s really that simple,” conceded Riley.

"The format can be frustrating sometimes because you feel it robs you of some of the skill sets involved in bowling spin but, on the other hand, you have to come up with different ways of creating ‘dot balls’.

"Obviously I bowl a bit flatter and quicker for T20, but I also try to be a bit cute with the angles I create to bowl from, a little like ‘Tredders’ who is the master of that at the moment. He bowls near identical deliveries on the same length, but from three angles, close-in to the stumps, mid-crease, and then wide out. It’s just another way of deceiving the batsman.

"Twenty20, for a spinner, is all about trying to make yourself unpredictable. If you keep bowling the same deliveries the batsmen line you up and that’s when you disappear out of the ground."

With that in mind, Riley described the experience of bowling to Chris Gayle during Kent’s thrilling three-run win over Somerset, in Taunton, as “a bit special”.

“The first thing I’d say is that I think Chris has a big future ahead of him! I’m sure I will look back and feel privileged to have been playing that day, but my immediate reaction was that it was great for us to come out on top as a side.

“To witness what he produced with the bat was very special, but overall I felt I bowled reasonably well to him.

"I know I disappeared for a couple of sixes, but I managed to find a length and string together a few dots and that created some pressure at a crucial stage of the game. When a bloke gets 151 not out you have to be happy with that!”

Mark Pennell

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