Stand-in skipper previews Essex trip

Monday 27th April 2009

KENT have named a squad of 13 for their short LV County Championship trip to Essex, starting tomorrow at Chelmsford.

With Rob Key on England Lions duty, Martin van Jaarsveld (pictured) takes over as skipper and will lead a team that includes debutant, Wayne Parnell, who arrived in the country from South Africa over the weekend.

The stand-in captain is clearly pleased to have his fellow countryman in this side: "I’m looking forward to getting underway at Chelmsford. It helps when you have the likes of Parnell and Robbie Joseph fully fit and available. A captain is only as good as his bowling unit and I’m privileged to captain such a talented bunch of guys."

The opening week of the season didn’t go as well as expected with a draw against Northants in the LV County Championship, followed by a defeat to Somerset in the Friends Provident Trophy: "In fairness, we had a lot of injuries over the two games. Had we all been fit then I think it would“ve been a lot different. We were a bit inexperienced and did okay. I’m pleased that we are stronger going into the Essex game."

Games between Kent and Essex are often keenly contested and van Jaarsveld is expecting this to be no different: "There is a little bit of history between the two sides – especially with what happened last year – so I think it has the makings of being another keenly contested game. I think we will play much better this week. Essex are quality opponents so we will need to be patient and skilful.

Parnell, Kent’s new South African fast-bowler, will make his Kent debut in the game and van Jaarsveld is fully aware of what he will bring to the team: "I think variety is the big thing. I’m pleased that we’ve got a left-armer on board. He is only a young man so the exuberance of youth is another bonus. I haven’t really played too much against him but I’ve seen him play for the national side and he looks very impressive. The lads who faced him in the nets, leading up to this game, said that he is very slippery so that bodes well. I think he will need a bit of time to adjust to the new conditions but he will do a good job for us."

The captain is a consistent performer at the top of the order and regularly weighs in with his fair share of runs. How is he feeling at the start of this new season? "I’m okay. I had to work really hard against Northants in our opening Championship match. Everything is not quite there yet but my mind is strong and I will find ways of getting myself going. I’m slowly getting there. It’s been a bit tough, coming back from the injury. As you know, I had a change of technique last year and I’m hitting it well again but I’m not quite where I want to be just yet."

Finally, how is the shoulder? "It’s okay. I think it’s Just a case of biting the bullet, to be honest. It doesn“t really hamper me that much but I do feel it. The important thing, for me, is to make sure I keep getting myself on the park because I enjoy scoring runs and love doing that for Kent."

The full squad for the game is as follows: Martin van Jaarsveld (captain), Joe Denly, James Tredwell, Geraint Jones (wicketkeeper), Darren Stevens, Justin Kemp, James Hockley, Wayne Parnell, Steffan Jones, Robert Joseph, Martin Saggers, Matthew Coles and Rob Ferley.

Picture courtesy of Terry Mahoney