Published: 00:00, 14 January 2016
Joe Denly is sure to be a key figure if Kent end their wait for silverware this season, although if they do, he won’t be leading the celebrations.
The 29-year-old former England batsman has decided to give up alcohol for 2016 in the name of charity and revealed the daunting personal challenge which awaits him.
Denly said: “There are going to be a few challenges this year. If we win a close game or if you get a 100, you’d generally have a beer to celebrate and if we do have a reason to get the Champagne out, then I suppose I’ll have to jump off the edge of the stage.
“It’s not just on-field either, though. I have really picked the year to do this, it’s my 30th birthday in March and my wife is expecting our first child in June.
“Most sportsmen don’t drink too often but when we do it tends to be too much, as we don’t know our limits. I had a few weeks off the alcohol and felt good. I had pretty much decided I was going to do it but had a beer to see in the new year with friends and family and a few people laughed at my chances of being able to do even a month, let alone a year.
“It led to them betting me £100 that I wouldn’t last and I thought, if I can raise hundreds in five minutes, how much could I raise in 12 months?”
Denly has chosen to support two charities close to his heart – the PCA Benevolent Fund and Cancer Research.
He said: “I have been a professional cricketer for 13 years and have seen what a great job PCA does in supporting past and present players and their families.
“I am keen to support the cricketing family as you never know when you may need their help.”
He added: “Cancer Research is one a bit closer to home as I have a bit of family history with this terrible disease. Recently my mum, sister and auntie have all had their own personal fights with cancer. Thankfully, they won their battles – largely down to the amazing work Cancer Research does.”
On the field Denly, is hoping to get some warm-weather preparation in ahead of the 2016 season, adding: “Nothing is set in stone at the moment but we are trying to sort things out. Possibly 10 days or so in India or the UAE before the start of pre-season here.”
To contribute to Joe’s efforts, visit www.justgiving.com/teams/mydryyear