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Big winter ahead for Kent admits skipper Sam Northeast

By Alex Hoad

Captain Sam Northeast admits Kent have a ‘big winter’ and plenty of reflection ahead but insists he remains excited by the potential within the squad.

Despite a flying start, Kent fell short of expectations in all three formats in 2017 and Northeast admitted they will review their recruitment tactics after a season which saw overseas stars Wayne Parnell, Yasir Shah, Adam Milne and Jimmy Neesham plus loanees James Harris and Joe Weatherley feature prominently in all formats.

He pointed to the seven defeats in eight games in the Royal London One-Day Cup as a potential turning point of the campaign but also claimed the pre-season blow with assistant coach Allan Donald being denied a work permit and an interim spell with Jason Gillespie at his side, had made life tougher for rookie head coach Matt Walker.

Kent skipper Sam Northeast Picture Gary Browne

Kent skipper Sam Northeast Picture: Gary Browne

Northeast said: “We started off well and the squad was in a good place. The one-day comp came and we didn’t play well in that and that changed the momentum.

"It’s not just players, we had Dizzy come in for a short period and you sort of change that dynamic and that might have affected the changing room.

“It’s never easy for Walks in his first year when he hasn’t really had a constant assistant coach for him and the players to work with.”

He added: “Players coming in and out is something we’re going to have to reflect on.

“Something like overseas players – do we want someone for longer periods who can be a bit more sustainable or loan players, is that the right thing for us to do?

“Yes, Harris and Parnell were good (at the start of the season) but then you lose that and suddenly your dynamic changes and you have to bring in players who haven’t played all year, trying to find their feet.

“It’s something we’re going to have to look at – we’re going to look at the whole dynamic of our squad.”

Northeast insisted he was happy with the players at his disposal but says he wants more out of them in 2018 to avoid a repeat of the disappointment which eventually arrived in all formats.

He said: “The most important thing is that we want to get more out of our players.

“There are going to be some big winters for these guys, something’s going to need to improve. I want a few of these youngsters to put their hand up and really cement their places.

“We want to go up to Division 1, we’ve said that for a long time.

“Last year, a lot of teams caught up with us, in terms of one-day cricket especially. We’re going to have to raise our skills, get better, fitter, stronger.”

He didn’t, however, rule out additions from outside the club, adding: “It’s an exciting proposition when you’ve got talent in the dressing room.

“If we improve what we have, then we can look at where holes need to be filled.”

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