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Kent Cricket officials back club's young prospects to fill any void left by not signing an overseas player for the 2015 season

By Alex Hoad

Financial responsibility is the reason Kent won’t sign an overseas player this season, with officials insisting that the returning Matt Coles can fill the role more than adequately.

New figures released on Thursday for the financial year to October 31, 2014, showed further improvement in Kent’s financial health. Click here for the full story.

However, a 'hiccup' in their financial plan, caused by the rejection of planning permission for the McCarthy & Stone development on one side of the ground, ensured they will tighten the purse strings until a planning appeal has run its course.

Chairman George Kennedy said: “We’ll not have an overseas player this year – we simply can’t afford it. An overseas player would cost way in excess of £100,000 by the time you pay, match fees, accommodation, travel, a car. It’s very expensive.”

He added: “To get our house in order, to make sure we don’t spend any money we don’t have to, we’ll run with the squad we have got, with one addition. bringing back young Matt Coles, which our support will probably welcome – a born and bred guy like him.”

Matt Coles. Picture: Barry Goodwin.
Matt Coles. Picture: Barry Goodwin.

Mr Kennedy claimed: “If he performs the way we know he can, he could fill that role throughout the season, that of the overseas fast bowler.”

Kent chief executive Jamie Clifford claimed “any member of the club’s bowling staff” could step up to fill the role, adding: “An overseas player is really only an international cricketer – there’s no reason why any domestic cricketer couldn’t be an international.

“You listen to the way teams talk about overseas players as if ‘the Messiah’s arrived, all will be well’ but it’s not actually like that.

Sam Billings. Picture: Barry Goodwin.
Sam Billings. Picture: Barry Goodwin.

“If Sam Billings or Adam Riley kick-on and become international cricketers, they could be delivering the value of an overseas player straight away.”

He added: “Coles out-bowled Kyle Abbott (in terms of Championship wickets) who was Hampshire’s overseas player last year. His championship stats were excellent, he was their bowler of the year.”

Mr Clifford revealed Kent hadn’t courted Coles before his release by Hampshire but added: “We made sure we were aligned to pick up the opportunity if it presented itself.”

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