Published: 06:00, 19 December 2019
Kent will decide next month whether to maintain their interest in signing Matt Henry for the new season.
The New Zealand pace ace was a revelation during Kent’s promotion-winning championship season in 2018, taking 75 wickets in just 11 matches.
Kent had been keen to bring him back in the summer but were unable to primarily due to Henry’s international commitments with the Kiwi one-day squad.
The 28-year-old has recently been recalled to the New Zealand Test squad winning his 11th cap in the draw against England in Hamilton, and could be in line for a busy winter.
The Black Caps are in involved in a three-Test series in Australia at the moment, and then host India in T20s, ODIs and Tests before meeting Australia again, playing three ODIs away and three T20s at home.
The last of those is scheduled to be played on March 29 – just two weeks before Kent’s opening championship game – and county head coach Matt Walker admits Henry’s testing winter schedule could influence both his and the club’s thinking.
He explained: “Matt’s top of our list and if he’s available, we’ll do everything we can to get him here but obviously now his world’s changed a bit.
“He’s much more involved with New Zealand cricket, he’s just played in albeit a very short series against England and now he’s in Australia and then they play India.
“He could have a very busy winter and I know that’s what was concerning him.
“He did not want to commit. He could be finishing with New Zealand in mid to late March so there’s not a lot of downtime for him.
“The bloke that he is, he would not want to commit to something that a, he can’t fulfil or b, can’t do to the best of his ability if he’s had a very heavy winter.
“He bowls a lot of overs but when we had him two years ago, he hadn’t played much cricket.
“He was fresh, raring to go, he loved his time with us, we loved having him as everyone did watching him do his thing.”
Walker admitted Kent remain in regular contact with Henry but conceded that they can’t let the situation drift on too long.
He added: “I think probably January time we’ll need to make a decision, because we need some time (to consider other options).
“We’ll have some ideas (about alternatives), it will be a like for like, to a certain degree, it might be a different style of fast bowling but we want a seamer to start the year.
“I think bowlers make more of an impact at the start of the year if you get absolute quality fast bowlers.
“The registration qualification rules have changed now, so you don’t necessarily have to have played a certain amount of Test matches or ODIs, to qualify.
“There’s another way of getting in through franchise cricket so there’ll be more some options.
“Australians are free all season so there’s always opportunities to delve into their pool of talent. Again we don’t want to make a rash decision we want to get the right person.”
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