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Kent Cricket: Hardus Viljoen explains the key to the Spitfires' T20 success

By Cameron Hogwood

Hardus Viljoen has alluded to Kent’s team harmony as a prime ingredient to their flying T20 start.

The Spitfires head into tonight’s clash at Gloucestershire having won six and lost just one of their opening seven games in the competition.

As one of the more experienced members of Kent’s white-ball set-up, the South African has been encouraged by the emergence of winning traits.

Hardus Viljoen celebrates a wicket for Kent against Essex. Picture: Ady Kerry
Hardus Viljoen celebrates a wicket for Kent against Essex. Picture: Ady Kerry

“I think the guys are playing together as a family, it’s more about playing for each other than anything else,” admitted Viljoen.

“We’re enjoying each others’ successes as a team and whoever wins the game, everybody celebrates with that person, if it’s one, it it’s everyone, it doesn’t matter.

“I think that’s the biggest thing for me, that’s what I’ve experienced playing for teams.

“Your leader is massive in a team as well, Deebz (Daniel Bell-Drummond) has done really well in leading the side and staying calm in those pressure situations.

“Everybody is just feeding off each other and that’s one of the main reasons why I think the team is doing so well.

“We’re trying to keep doing the small things right and the bigger ones will look after themselves and I think that’s what’s happening at the moment.”

The 30-year-old has excelled as part of Kent’s widely-praised bowling attack with a team-high 14 wickets ahead of the Gloucestershire game.

He has been accompanied by the fast bowling expertise of Adam Milne and Fred Klaassen, as well as the spin threat of Mohammad Nabi and Imran Qayyum.

Viljoen explained: “We’re feeding off each other, everybody tries to give their input and everybody is learning off each other all the time.

“I think the moment you stop learning is the moment things start going pear shaped.

“I’ve walked back a couple of times and asked Deebz, ‘Do you think stay with the same ball?’ or I’ve asked Milne ‘What do you reckon, bowl the same ball?’ because sometimes they see the game differently when I’m bowling and I’ll see the game differently when they’re bowling.

“It’s about communicating all the time and just knowing what your best ball is at that stage.

“That’s what is making us stick together as a bowling unit and doing the small things right as I said.”

Hardus Viljoen celebrates the wicket of Somerset's Babar Azam. Picture: Ady Kerry
Hardus Viljoen celebrates the wicket of Somerset's Babar Azam. Picture: Ady Kerry

Kent’s unassuming approach has also proven key in allowing them to carry out the simple yet match-winning jobs effectively.

Viljoen added: “The moment when you don’t set the bar too high, that expectation is not really there so you just go in the moment.

“It’s just showed us what we’re capable of when things do start clicking and guys do play to their natural performances.

“If we keep doing the small things, it we keep training the way we are, if we don’t take anything for granted, if we keep working hard, the chances of us going through are there.”

After facing Gloucestershire at Bristol, Kent visit Somerset on Saturday before hosting Glamorgan at Canterbury on Wednesday, August 14.

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