van Jaarsveld previews Kent’s Championship trip to Leicestershire

Thursday 4th June 2009

KENT’S cricketers take a break from Twenty20 action as they play two LV County Championship matches, starting tomorrow away at Leicestershire. Kent have enjoyed a good start to their Championship season and are currently second in the table – five points behind leaders Gloucestershire. Their opponents, Leicester, are currently bottom of the table and have yet to win a Championship game.

With Rob Key away on international duty with England, Martin van Jaarsveld will again skipper the side. He says it will be difficult, for both sides, changing from Twenty20 into Championship mode: ’It will be especially tough for the batsmen. We take a break from T20 for just two Championship matches and then we have another four Twenty20 games. It is pretty tough on the batters because you are almost in cover drive mode and looking to hit everything. Now, returning to four-day cricket, you have to play with good judgment and be careful with your shot selection. Youngster Sam Northeast will get another go at the top of the innings in place of Keysy.’

It will be Kent’s first Championship match against Leicestershire in a while and the skipper says it is a bit of a trip into the unknown: ’We know enough about Leicester as a side and we have played them a few times in the one-day game. But we haven’t played much four-day cricket against them so we don’t know as much about them as many other sides. They have some good batters and guys who will cause you problems despite not finding their best form yet.’

van Jaarsveld is looking forward to the trip to Grace Road but admits he knows little about the wicket they are likely to find up in the East Midlands: ’We are lucky to have played on several belters this season. We have bounce and pace in the wickets at Canterbury and the boys are really enjoying it. I don’t know if it will be the same at Leicester. We will have a good look in the morning and pick our side accordingly. Still, if we want to win a trophy then we have got to play well on all types of wickets. I think there is some rain around so that is another thing to consider.’

The skipper has enjoyed a typically good start to the season although he still wants more: ’The form in the Championship is okay but I wanted to contribute more in the recent T20 matches. I got out twice, when I was set, and could’ve gone on and scored a few more so that was disappointing. I’m looking forward to getting back into the longer format and hopefully I will carry-on my form from before the break.’

Finally, Martin wanted to end the interview by commenting on Rob Key’s inclusion in the England World T20 team to play the Netherlands at Lord’s. van Jaarsveld said: ’I’m very pleased for him. I know he still has big aspirations to play for England and I hope he gets himself into the side on a regular basis. He might be struggling a bit form-wise but Keysy is a class player and he just needs one score to really get himself going.’

Kent have made one change to the side that lost to Sussex Sharks in the T20 at Hove last night. Fast-bowler Martin Saggers comes into the side in place of all-rounder Azhar Mahmood. The full 12-man squad is as follows: van Jaarsveld (C), Northeast, Denly, Hockley, Jones (W), Stevens, Kemp, Tredwell, McLaren, Cook, Joseph, Saggers

Picture courtesy of Getty Images.