The club gets its own mystery spinner, ‘Merlyn’

Wednesday 3rd February 2010

The club website (CW) visited the Kent cricket Academy in Canterbury, and got the lowdown on the new mystery spinner that’s taking the place by storm. Merlyn is a unique piece of machinery that has been developed in partnership between the ECB and Bola.

It is a bowling machine that can replicate genuine spin, dip and accuracy, and is proving extremely valuable in improving the batting of players against the turning ball. It is the closest you will get to match play conditions.
Earlier this week, Kent“s high performance director, Simon Willis (SW), gave the club website a closer inspection of the new arrival.

CW: Why is this piece of kit so good?

SW: It is perfect; a brilliant aid for both players and coaches. The machine allows you to face various different deliveries – so you can replicate shots and try out various different things. The ECB has gone to considerable expense; it will prove to be money well spent. There is no doubt that players can only benefit from such an outstanding piece of kit.

CW: How long have we had it?

SW: It arrived just before Christmas and has been used by the players ever since. You could say it was a perfect present for us all! The players are really enjoying this new piece of kit and the challenges that it brings.

CW: So does it only focus on spin?

SW: Yes, it is a specialist spin bowling machine. There are other bowling machines on the market but Merlyn is the best for spin bowling. Keysy (Rob Key) and Joe (Denly) both worked on it earlier this week. The machine allows players to work on new shots; shots they hope will benefit their game over the coming months.

CW: So is it a bit like having sub continent conditions here in Kent?

SW: I guess so. Merlyn allows you to work on specific techniques; both defensive and attacking without the necessity of having to go abroad in the winter to find conditions that are favourable to spin bowling. It has various settings and allows you to pit your wits against all different manner of deliveries.

CW: The players all seem to enjoy being back. How are things going?

SW: Things are going well. Not everyone is back. We have some players abroad but we have a decent group here in Kent and they are enjoying coming in and working hard. We have worked on strength and conditioning and skills too. Cricket is no longer a six-month sport; players have to put in the hard work all year round to get the best results.

CW: Finally the season isn“t too far away now, is it?

SW: No, it will soon be upon us but we are ready. Farby (Paul Farbrace) and Keysy have worked hard on the winter programme and our pre-season preparation. We are all enjoying how things are going. We are now all looking forward to pre-season outdoors and building towards making a positive start to the season.