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Ashes 2019: Kent's Joe Denly ready for 'highlight of career' against Australia

ByCameron Hogwood

Kent's Joe Denly will fulfil every young cricketer's dream when he steps out for England in their first Ashes Test against Australia.

The 33-year-old is set to bat at number four at Edgbaston after skipper Joe Root opted to move up to three in the order.

Denly insists he is up for the fight as he prepares to take on one of the world's top bowling units.

Joe Denly featuring for Kent against Warwickshire this season. Picture: Ady Kerry
Joe Denly featuring for Kent against Warwickshire this season. Picture: Ady Kerry

On moving down to four, Denly told Sky: "Very excited, I wasn't too fussed really where I was batting, it's just great to be in that starting eleven.

"I've batted at four before playing for Kent and throughout my career so for me it wasn't really a big issue, just happy to be playing like I said."

Denly will take his place among a relatively new-look top order including recent Test debutant Jason Roy and Surrey's Rory Burns.

He added: "Obviously it's quite an inexperienced top order, if you look at Rory, Jason and myself, we haven't played a great deal of Tests.

"But it's also exciting, it will bring a bit of freshness at the top of the order and I know speaking personally I'm very excited to get going in what is probably to be the highlight of my career.

"I think you'd have something wrong with you if you wasn't up for an Ashes series.

"I'm quite an old campaigner now, I'm 33-years-old, I think everyone from a young age dreams of playing in an Ashes series. To finally get that chance, I'm certainly excited and up for the challenge."

Having missed out on the World Cup, Denly has since produced a number of impressive knocks for Kent in the County Championship.

This saw him hit 167 during a 285-run win over Nottinghamshire at Tunbridge Wells, before making 154 in the draw away to Hampshire.

He said: "Luckily I've been able to play a bit of red-ball cricket with my county after not making the World Cup squad so a bit of a blessing in disguise there being able to spend some time out in the middle and get a few big scores and go into this series feeling confident."

Awaiting Denly in the middle will be the likes of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Josh Hazlewood and spinner Nathan Lyon.

"There's no doubt that Australian bowling line-up is one of the best in the world, they've got all bases covered really," admitted Denly.

"I think as a top order batter that's where you want to be, testing yourself against the best.

"That Australian bowling line-up will certainly prove to be a challenge throughout the series, I'm sure, and one that I'm looking forward to taking on."

Read more: All the latest Kent sport news

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