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Vice-captain Sam Northeast believes he can play a leading role for Kent Spitfires batting down the order in the NatWest T20 Blast

By Alex Hoad

Sam Northeast says he still has a vital role to play in Kent’s T20 fortunes, despite handing over the opener’s duties to Daniel Bell-Drummond.

The 24-year-old Kent vice-captain came in at No.5 in the NatWest T20 Blast victory at Somerset on Friday, with Bell-Drummond joining Rob Key for an 85-run opening stand from just 38 balls.

After being run-out for a four-ball duck, Northeast – who averaged 20 in six T20 knocks last season – admitted: “It’s a new role batting at five, another challenge for me.

“There were a lot of discussions. DBD has previously opened in one-day cricket and likes to do it and I batted at five or six in T20 a couple of seasons ago and did OK, so it was a logical decision really.

“Keysey and I didn’t make the sort of start we would have wanted last year and maybe a change was needed and it’s the right decision.”

Sam Northeast
Sam Northeast

He added: “Being an opener for so long, I must admit it’s strange waiting to go out to bat but you do whatever’s needed for the team.

“At five you come up against decent death bowlers and you have to find a way to score some runs. Watching Keysey and DBD, then Darren Stevens, was unbelievable but there will be times when you need me or Sam Billings or Alex Blake to finish a game off.

“We’re lucky that we have got seven guys in that order who are capable of finishing off an innings and a fantastic bowling attack.”

Northeast said he was looking forward to the visit of Gloucestershire to the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, on Friday (7pm), adding: “We want to get on a roll at home. When people see the side are going well, you see the crowds pick-up and the noise levels, too. There is a good atmosphere at Canterbury when the team are doing well.”

Northeast also admitted to frustration with his start to the Championship season – scoring 122 runs in nine innings, with just one score above 30 before a half-century batting at three in the wash-out against Worcestershire at Tunbridge Wells this week.

He revealed: “The two times I have got in I’ve not managed to go on and get a big score. Hopefully, next time I can turn a 50 into a hundred or more.”

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