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Director of cricket Paul Downton excited by young Kent squad

By Cameron Hogwood

Kent’s youthful core is primed to spearhead a chapter of significant progression for the club, believes director of cricket Paul Downton.

The team are gearing up to compete in Division 1 of the County Championship after ending their eight-year long wait for promotion with September’s win over Glamorgan.

A minor revamp has since taken place in view of complementing returning senior players with a batch of young prospects and new acquisitions.

Matt Walker talks with Paul Downton
Matt Walker talks with Paul Downton

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Downton said: “We’re all about building a nucleus here. We’ve got a very young squad, we’ve got three that are 21 or under and seven between 22 and 27. We’ve got a very good group of guys who get on extremely well.

“We’ll build on last year and try to make the side better.

“You’ll see each one of these players get better themselves and I think we can be a real force to be reckoned with.”

Kent’s squad slimmed by just three following the conclusion of the 2018 season. Spinner James Tredwell retired at the age of 36 in September having missed the campaign after undergoing surgery on a shoulder issue in the summer.

All-rounder Will Gidman also called time on his career, while Matt Hunn departed upon the expiry of his contract in Canterbury.

Downton added: “We’ve had quite a good season in terms of three people leaving last year.

“We’ve recruited young seam bowler Matt Milnes from Nottinghamshire, Fred Klaassen who has played for the Netherlands side and in New Zealand, and a young lad Jordan Cox from the academy who was one of the stars in the Super-4s last year.

“Matt Renshaw will do the first part of the overseas slot, he’ll play the first three championship matches and the Royal London (One-Day Cup), and we’re talking with a bowler at the moment to come and do the seven championship matches after that.

“The reason being with Joe Denly and Sam Billings away for the IPL, we think we need to strengthen our batting for the first part of the season.”

“For the T20, Adam Milne is coming back and (Mohammed) Nabi joining us from Afghanistan will give us some real options. We’re looking forward to competing in Division 1, it’s eight years since Kent have been there.

“People like Sam Billings have never played in Division 1 so there’s a sense of excitement about that, we’re really up for it.”

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