Published: 08:00, 03 April 2014
Paceman Mitch Claydon says compatriot Doug Bollinger can’t wait to start his Kent career and predicts his arrival could contribute to a successful season.
Claydon made last summer’s loan move from Durham a permanent switch during the close season and was in the wickets in the opening warm-up game against his former employers at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence on Monday.
The 31-year-old quick – hailed as an important dressing room voice in Rob Key’s new regime – said he was raring to go after a solid winter in Sydney.
Claydon said: “It’s nice to be back and training outdoors in March. In my 10 years in England, pre-seasons have been spent abroad or certainly not outdoors. It’s a massive boost for the club.
“I was over playing in Sydney, captaining and coaching a team like I do each year. It’s good to keep playing and come back with a lot of overs under my belt and hopefully ready to hit the ground running.”
Claydon is joined in a strong bowling unit by Aussie international and Kent’s 2014 overseas player Bollinger, a player with whom he shares a history.
He said: “We played our first New South Wales Colts game together when I was about 18 or 19 when Doug first came on the scene.
“We’re from a similar area, he plays for Fairfield and I play for Campbelltown which are 20 minutes apart. I’ve had a chat to him since it was announced he was coming here and he’s looking forward to it.”
Claydon added: “He’s a class act and back in the Australian set-up which shows the form he’s in.
“Bringing him in is No.1 good for cricket but his personality will also help the changing room.”
With players competing for playing time at every position, Claydon knows everyone needs to perform to their best for a place in the Kent side.
He said: “It’s the best part of having a strong squad. It’s horrible to be left out but it can help you. If you have guys chomping at your heel from game one, scoring runs and doing well in the second team, it puts pressure on.
“We have got a good squad here, a good mix of old and young and a good coaching staff – I think it will be a good year.”
Bollinger is set to link-up with his new team-mates late next week after arriving in the UK from Bangladesh, via a trip home to Australia.
He took a wicket in each of Australia’s four group-stage games at the World t20 in Bangladesh, although they exited at the first hurdle on Tuesday.
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