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Kent Cricket head coach Matt Walker says Australian Matt Renshaw's experience with Somerset was key to recruiting him

Matt Walker admits Matt Renshaw’s familiarity with early season English conditions made him the ideal candidate to bolster Kent’s batting at the start of the summer.

Renshaw has been brought in to cover the absence of Joe Denly and Sam Billings, both of whom are at the Indian Premier League, and will play the opening three County Championship games as well as the Royal London One-Day Cup.

The English-born Australian had a short but highly productive spell with Somerset last season, compiling 513 runs in six four-day matches (average 51.30) before a broken finger cut his time short.

Kent director of cricket Paul Downton, left, with head coach Matt Walker Picture: Ady Kerry
Kent director of cricket Paul Downton, left, with head coach Matt Walker Picture: Ady Kerry

Renshaw, who turned 23 on March 28, hit three centuries in 11 innings during that time and Kent head coach Walker admits the left-hander’s good form at Somerset certainly played a big part in his recruitment.

He said: “I think one of the key things, certainly for me was to get someone who’s had the experience of early season cricket (in England).

“Matt had that last year playing English conditions early season so that was very key in our decision making process.

“He played for Somerset who we have in the first game, whether that helps or not who knows but it’s an added bonus that he has that experience of Taunton.

“When you sign younger players or someone who is on the fringes of a Test selection you have that hunger, you have that energy, he’ll fit into a very young dressing room as well so we quite like that dynamic that we’ve got a hungry young player coming to improve himself.”

The last of Renshaw’s 11 Test caps was against South Africa in Johannesburg in the spring of 2018 and Kent director of cricket Paul Downton also believes the Queensland batsman’s desire to regain his place in the Australian team will ensure he’s highly motivated.

He explained: “He’s an outstanding young player, he’s played 11 Tests for Australia, he’s had a little bit of a dip in form but he’s fighting his way back into it.

“We expect him to be on the Australia A tour (to England), he’d like to be on the Ashes Tour so I think he will be very keen and hungry for runs.

“He had a very good start to the season last year with Somerset and when we spoke to him he was very keen to come and join us.

“From my point of view he’s a left hander which in the top order looks really good. He’ll probably bat at three and he’ll give us some quality and class in the top order when you’re missing Joe and Sam.

“He’s only young but he’s an experienced player and did well in the First Division last year and that was an important part of the consideration that we went into before selecting him.”

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