Published: 17:00, 10 April 2019
| Updated: 17:13, 10 April 2019
Mitch Claydon feared his days of red ball cricket may have been behind him amid Kent’s preparations for their return to Division 1 of the County Championship.
An injury setback and the unshakeable form of his team-mates restricted the 36-year-old to just one match during the club’s 2018 promotion-winning Division 2 campaign.
Fast forward to April and Claydon is now striving to build on career-high match figures of 9-112 in his side’s opening game defeat to Somerset at Taunton.
Claydon said: “I’ve never played for personal milestones but I’m pleased considering the year I had with the red ball, it was a bit frustrating after being injured and then being unable to force my way back into the team after recovering.
“Looking back to a month ago I was thinking to myself that my red ball days are coming to an end, so from a personal point of view it was good to start like that. It’s got me thinking I’ve got so much more to offer.”
Disappointment over the 74-run loss stemmed from Kent’s failure to match their fine bowling performance with the bat on the final day.
Such fine margins, however, have since been shaped as an indicator of the ability for Matt Walker’s side to compete in the top tier.
Claydon added: “We can take a lot of positives from yesterday because we were in control for 80% of it, one bad hour really cost us the game and that hurt.
“I honestly think we bossed that game for the majority of it, that’s the level of cricket this is. In the second division you might have been able to come back.
“We can’t be too hard on ourselves though, we lost the first game last year and then came back strong.
“There’s the whole stigma of the difference between Division 1 and Division 2 but it’s just a game of cricket, it’s the fact you change the colour of the clothes, the colour of the ball and the length of the game, so we just need to get away from that, all these guys will be better off for that loss.”
The spread of wickets proved salient as far as Kent’s signs of encouragement were concerned, with a number of figures still to vie for a spot in the bowling attack.
Claydon said: “I think the depth in your squad is what you need, we’ve got big Ivan (Thomas) struggling but he’s getting a lot better, Grant Stewart, Calum Haggett and Fred Klaassen missed out as well. It’s less about being rivals with each other but more about providing that squad depth.”