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Willis previews NatWest Pro40 trip to Leicestershire

Sunday 16th August 2009

KENT’S cricketers will look to put their Twenty20 Cup heartache behind them tomorrow when they return to NatWest Pro40 action. The Spitfires travel to Grace Road to take on the Leicestershire Foxes. Kent will hand opportunities to several younger players including Alex Blake, Paul Dixey and Phil Edwards while Justin Kemp will skipper the side in the absence of Rob Key.

Professional Cricket Manager, Simon Willis (pictured), says having such a small squad makes it a neccessity to play the youngsters: "We’ve come off the back of a busy schedule with matches coming thick and fast. It was pretty tiring on the boys – especially the bowlers. With this in mind, we have decided to give several of the younger players a go."

Experienced all-rounder Justin Kemp will skipper the side and Willis believes he will do a good job: "Justin is an experienced cricketer and has played lots of matches; both internationally and domestically. He has a good cricket brain and will enjoy leading our young side. Rob Key is a great skipper and I’m sure that Justin has learnt from him and all the other top captains that he has worked under."

With the selection of this young squad, does it mean that this competition is now second in Kent’s thoughts to the LV County Championship? "Yes, of course. The Championship is our main aim and we are well placed in that competition. We’ve said all season that we want an instant return to Division One and nothing has changed on that. We just need to keep playing well and everything else will follow. We are lucky to have a group of talented youngsters and it’s good that several of them are getting a chance to show how good they are. I hope that they perform well and give us some pleasant selection headaches."

The Kent Spitfires have named the following 12-man squad for the game: Hockley, Northeast, Blake, Kemp (captain), Stevens, Mahmood, Tredwell, Dixey (wicketkeeper), Ferley, Khan, Edwards, Lee

The day/night fixture is live on Sky Sports and starts at 4.40pm. You can also hear commentary on BBC Radio Kent via the following link:

Picture: Terry Mahoney