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Kent Cricket bowling coach Simon Cook sees no reason why they shouldn't be eyeing a spot in the Bob Willis Trophy final

Bowling coach Simon Cook sees no reason why Kent shouldn’t be eyeing a place in the Bob Willis Trophy final this summer.

Kent begin their Bob Willis Trophy schedule on Saturday when they face 2019 county champions Essex at Chelmsford, having played a two-day behind closed doors practice match against the same opposition in Canterbury earlier this week.

Kent bowling coach Simon Cook. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Kent bowling coach Simon Cook. Picture: Barry Goodwin

They are in a six-team regionalised south group and Kent’s first home game at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, also played behind closed doors, will be against Sussex a week after their opener.

The Bob Willis Trophy, a one-off red-ball competition, replaces the County Championship for the 2020 season - after 10 rounds of matches were lost due to lockdown after the coronavirus outbreak - but matches will hold full first-class status.

With the two best group winners from the three regionalised groups going onto compete in a five-day final of the trophy, Cook is targeting silverware.

He said: “I think every team in the country wants to be up there and challenging and to be in that final.

“To be honest, I think we are going to take it game-by-game.

“I know it’s a bit of a cliche but, here in this situation, we almost have to take it game-by-game because of the issues with workload and having to rotate.

“We will have to rotate our bowlers around. There is no getting away from that.

“Our bowlers won’t play all five games.

“They are going to play two or three games, and we need to keep one eye on the T20 (competition) which is coming up at the end of the month.

“We also have got to make sure we have a bowling attack going into 2021.

“We will be looking to play our best team wherever we can, absolutely, but there is going to be an element of rotation.”

Kent will be short on recognised batsmen for the start of their campaign with Zak Crawley and Joe Denly, along with skipper Sam Billings, all currently with England.

Ollie Robinson scored an unbeaten century in Kent's practice match against Essex in Canterbury earlier this week. Picture: Ady Kerry
Ollie Robinson scored an unbeaten century in Kent's practice match against Essex in Canterbury earlier this week. Picture: Ady Kerry

Heino Kuhn’s partner is also due to give birth but wicket-keeper batsman Ollie Robinson and Jordan Cox got valuable time in the middle in Kent’s practice match against Essex, with Robinson retiring not out after scoring a century and 19-year-old Cox hitting 52.

Cook, who has been in interim charge of the side with head coach Matt Walker also with England, has backed 21-year-old Robinson to take on responsibility beyond his years.

“If you look at the top six, essentially, we have six batters currently available for us. They are the six who are going to have to score those runs,” Cook said.

“The opportunities are going to be there for them to establish themselves within this set up.

“We all know we have got players coming back, so someone at some point will have to give way.

“The emphasis is there for you to get the runs.

“Ollie has done exactly what we asked him to do.

“Yes, it was in a warm-up game but 100 runs is 100 runs against Essex who are county champions.”

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