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Kent head coach Matt Walker delivers update on recruitment ahead of 2020

ByCameron Hogwood

Kent are not expected to make any further domestic signings this off-season according to head coach Matt Walker.

The club have so far welcomed batsman Jack Leaning from Yorkshire, young spinner Hamidullah Qadri from Derbyshire and experienced seamer Tim Groenewald from Somerset.

Deals to bring in overseas stars for the 2020 season are now being pursued behind-the-scenes, with the arrival of The Hundred presenting new challenges in that department.

Kent's Ollie Robinson celebrates as Jack Leaning is run out by a direct hit from Heino Kuhn
Kent's Ollie Robinson celebrates as Jack Leaning is run out by a direct hit from Heino Kuhn

Walker said: “That is it now domestically (as far as signings are concerned).

“We’ll obviously look to bring in an overseas to start the year and round our T20, we’re in the process of working out what that looks like.

“We’ve got an idea of how the season will be structured, then we’ll work hard to get the quality of overseas for each area of the season, which will be tricky with the 100-ball competition coming in and the demands of overseas players.

“That’s always going to be a challenge, there are some opportunities to get some very good players in at the right time. That will follow.

“It won’t be imminently, we need to speak to who we want to get in and hopefully we’ll move forward as well.”

Echoing recent comments by skipper Sam Billings, Walker admitted he was encouraged by the increased strength in depth at his disposal.

Besides the new arrivals, that depth is also set to include the likes of Ivan Thomas, Calum Haggett and Grant Stewart – all of whom struggled with injury in the 2019 campaign.

Kent also had to fare without Billings for a large chunk of the summer with a dislocated shoulder, while seeing overseas star Wiaan Mulder recalled by Cricket South Africa due to an Achilles heel injury just three first-class outings into his stint in Canterbury.

There were also spells on the sidelines for key bowlers Imran Qayyum and Adam Milne during the T20 Blast.

Walker added: “We’ve got a slightly bigger squad now as well but what that gives you is competition for places.

“We’re serious about winning something next year. To do that we need that competition and to be able to feel there is a bit of upward pressure, that should be a good thing.

“Players will now know that if they’re in the team they have to work hard to stay in it and if they aren’t in it they have to work even harder to get in. Having that depth will certainly raise the standards again.
“With the injuries we had this year, we need to make sure we’re covered.

“We have a squad that makes me feel very confident.”

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