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Kent bowling coach Robbie Joseph on son’s reaction as he rejoins after leaving Gloucestershire

Few would have been happier than one person in particular when Robbie Joseph completed his Kent comeback - his son!

Joseph has recounted how the eight-year-old was left in tears at Canterbury’s Spitfire Ground last May as Joseph’s then-team Gloucestershire were beaten by seven wickets in Kent’s opening game of their T20 Blast campaign.

Robbie Joseph, pictured dismissing Lancashire batsman Mal Loye in 2008, has returned to Kent as the county’s new bowling coach. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Robbie Joseph, pictured dismissing Lancashire batsman Mal Loye in 2008, has returned to Kent as the county’s new bowling coach. Picture: Barry Goodwin

So, when the opportunity to replace new director of cricket Simon Cook as bowling coach arose, ex-bowler Joseph jumped at the chance.

He said: “I sort of knew that, when I heard Simon was taking a job as a director, it was possible the job might come up.

“So, I kept an eye and an ear open, saying ‘If this happens, there’s the possibility for me to apply for a job to go home.’

“It wasn’t that I wasn’t enjoying where I was. I loved the work I was doing and was grateful for the opportunity given to me by Gloucestershire and (performance director) Steve Snell and (then-head coach) Dale Benkenstein.

“But I’m a Kent boy. I’d played a lot of my cricket here and grew up here, and my son lives nearby in Ramsgate.

Joe Denly and Sam Billings celebrate another wicket as Spitfires started their 2023 T20 Blast campaign with a seven-wicket win against Gloucestershire - a result which left the son of Robbie Joseph, then with the Bristol-based county, in tears. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Joe Denly and Sam Billings celebrate another wicket as Spitfires started their 2023 T20 Blast campaign with a seven-wicket win against Gloucestershire - a result which left the son of Robbie Joseph, then with the Bristol-based county, in tears. Picture: Barry Goodwin

“From a family point-of-view, it makes it easier with my availability to see him.

“The job came up. One of the things that happened was he came here last year and saw Gloucestershire play Kent in the first game in the T20 Blast.

“Gloucestershire lost and he was crying.

“That evening he said to me ‘Oh, why don’t you just work here, daddy?’ I said ‘Because there’s no job here, darling.’ Then, the job came up and I thought ‘Well, I can’t really not apply for this job.’

“Luckily enough, I was successful in that process.”

All-rounder Joey Evison - finished with figures of 2-41 in Kent’s three-day friendly against a Loughborough UCCE team. Picture: Keith Gillard
All-rounder Joey Evison - finished with figures of 2-41 in Kent’s three-day friendly against a Loughborough UCCE team. Picture: Keith Gillard

Joseph made 110 appearances for Kent between 2004 and 2011 and in 2014, in which he took 230 wickets across all formats.

He had been Gloucestershire lead bowling coach permanently from November 2022 until December.

Joseph said: “I learnt so much about the game there from Dale and from all the other coaches, as well as about myself and about players as individuals.

“There’s a lot there that I hope to keep using to progress my career here.

“But I’m happy to think (coming back) will be a good thing and that I’ll continue to grow in my career and learn more from the players, and those around me, as much as I can so I can become better.

“I’m just a tool for the guys to use to broaden their games.

“My game can’t go anywhere but I hope my coaching abilities and my ability to deal with people will get better as time goes on.”

Joseph is pleased he experienced coaching elsewhere, as opposed to immediately being offered a role at Kent when his playing days were over. Matt Walker did similar with Essex before he rejoined Kent as head coach in 2017.

“It’s not like you left (as a player) and have come straight back to it,” he stated. “You have gone elsewhere, seen something else work, seen a different environment and how different people work.

“It can be a little bit stale if you never go away. It’s given me a chance to know something else. I also worked in Namibia for a period of time. I’ve lived in Australia and worked in South Africa.

“That helped me to learn more about juniors and high-performance youth (players) who are becoming professional sportsmen.

“It all counts. It’s all experience.”

While Cook has a different position at Kent, he still wants to help on the coaching side when time allows him to do so. That’s something 42-year-old Joseph welcomes.

He said: “I know Simon. We played together for years and years.

“It’s a good thing, having someone like Simon around. If I’m not sure about something, I can ask Walks, ask Simon, and there’s other people that I can ask. He’s been in the system.

“Normally, you go into a place and the old guy has gone, and you are sort of always having to start new relationships. And you have no other points of view, really.

“Someone else might have a different point of view or a style that worked very well with a player. I don’t have to start over from scratch.

“(Simon can say) ‘This guy prefers to do this’, ‘This guy prefers to do this’, and sometimes that’s not the greatest thing in the world - because it might mean (doing something else) may challenge them - but why is that?

“If it’s an inhibitor to them getting further, I might find a way (to change it), push those boundaries a little bit further and move to the next stage.

“But if it’s what is key to them, why change it?”

Kent finished a three-day pre-season friendly with a Loughborough UCCE side at Canterbury’s Spitfire Ground on Tuesday.

All-rounder Joey Evison (2-41) added another wicket to his tally, the visitors declaring on 377-5 - level with the home side’s first-innings total.

Kent then moved to 54-2 through Jack Leaning (20 not out) and captain Daniel Bell-Drummond (19 not out).

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