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Kent's Key lands Aussie tour place

THE winter travel arrangements of Kent opener Robert Key took a serious twist for the better at the weekend when he was named as the man to replace Graham Thorpe on England's tour of Australia.

Key, overlooked in the original selection for the Ashes trip, won a reprieve when Thorpe finally conceded he could not guarantee his mental sharpness for the arduous four-month tour.

Although Key had been placed on standby for an ECB Academy trip to Sri Lanka after Christmas, he will now line up on the most prestigious tour a cricketer can make.

The call-up, albeit as a replacement, is just reward for another successful season for Key who hit 1,090 championship runs for the county this summer at an average of 43.60.

And although the 23-year-old from Beckenham failed to score a 50 in his two Tests against India this summer at Trent Bridge and Headingley, he showed sufficient promise to hold off the challenge of Surrey's Ian Ward and Mark Ramprakash to win the tour berth.

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