Published: 06:00, 16 August 2019
Jordan Cox finds himself acting out the boyhood ambitions he first arrived with at Kent as a 10-year-old.
The 18-year-old academy graduate has so far chalked up his first-class and T20 Blast debuts for the county in what has been a superb individual season in his development.
Cox made his red-ball bow opening against Hampshire last month in place of Zak Crawley, who was on duty for England Lions.
“It was honestly amazing, it was the kind of thing you dream about when you’re a kid, playing for your county,” admitted Cox.
“I’ve been playing for Kent since I was 10 so to make my first-team debut was just amazing.
“I had great support with Sean Dickson next to me, somebody who has scored loads of runs.
“I was saying to myself ‘they wouldn’t have picked you if you couldn’t do it’ so I was just backing myself and I felt really at home.”
This was followed up by a T20 appearance at Lord’s as the Spitfires beat a Middlesex side, which included Eoin Morgan and AB de Villiers, by 28 runs.
“It’s honestly been amazing,” Cox added, discussing his involvement in this season’s competition. “It’s unbelievable, you just see such good cricketers and you learn from them and take little snippets from everyone and just try and make your game even better.
“Lord’s was just amazing, I was supposed to play there a few years ago and it got called off so playing there was amazing. It’s where you want to play when you’re a youngster.”
Cox is the latest player to break through Kent’s youth set-up into the first team, following in the footsteps of two of the club’s standout performers in 2019 in Ollie Robinson and Crawley.
He explained: “It’s obviously hard breaking into the first team, because you’ve got such good players there.
“If you do well in the 2nd team and keep working hard, there’s no reason why you can’t be knocking on the door as you’ve seen with Ollie (Robinson) and Zak (Crawley) and myself.
“We just keep knocking on the door, doing well for the 2nds and if you keep scoring runs and some of the first team aren’t they’ll give you a go.
“When you get a go you have to pounce and just make sure it’s worth the while.”
The wicketkeeper-batsman has benefited from a strong support network in the form of head coach Matt Walker and 2nds coach Min Patel, the latter of whom he won the Second XI Trophy with earlier this season.
“He (Walker) is very good, he’s a really good man and he looks after everyone really. The main thing about him is that he will throw balls at you all day long and won’t hesitate, he’ll throw balls at you 24/7 no matter what.
“Min said just keep scoring runs and you’ll get your opportunity, so that’s what I was telling myself. Just to keep doing well and hopefully I’ll get my go and luckily I did.”
The influence of experience behind-the-scenes has also been evident on the pitch courtesy of Daniel Bell-Drummond and Heino Kuhn, who have been the Kent captains in the two formats.
“Heino is great, he’s such a good man,” said Cox. “You ask him anything and he’ll give you his honest opinion, same with Daniel Bell-Drummond.
“If you ever need anything, any ideas or anything you’ve thought of, they’ll just give it to you straight really. They’re both really good to learn from.”
An impressive year for the teenager continued with an unbeaten 122 for England’s under-19s against Bangladesh at Beckenham last week.
He said: “I was very lucky and privileged to get my first hundred with the 19s, especially against Bangladesh as when we went out there I couldn’t score over about 10/15 runs so coming over here and giving them a good run for their money was good.
“I’ve been on two tours to India and Bangladesh and this is my third little stint, I’ve always wanted to try and get a hundred for the 19s because it would be a good step and a milestone.
“I’ve done that now and I really want to just keep going forward and seeing if I can score more for them.”
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More by this authorCameron Hogwood