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Neil Saker in line to start for Kent County Cricket Club against Essex in opening LV= County Championship match

By Alex Hoad

Neil Saker could complete a remarkable transformation by being included in Kent’s side for their opening LV= County Championship Division 2 game at Essex on Friday.

Neil Saker
Neil Saker

The 26-year-old former Surrey seamer has been on trial at Kent over the winter and finds himself in contention because of injuries to Dewald Nel (back), Ashley Shaw (shin splints), Matt Coles and Azhar Mahmood.

Coles and Mahmood both have what director of cricket Paul Farbrace described as "niggles" and the pair’s fitness is due to be assessed on Thursday ahead of the squad’s departure for Chelmsford.

Nel and Shaw are definite non-starters and Kent have to decide whether to play Robbie Joseph or wait until he has a chance to get some more overs under his belt as he continues his recovery from a long-term shoulder problem.

Farbrace admitted: "Neil has come in over the winter and impressed.

"He’s keen to get back playing and we said to him, when he came, that if he worked hard and the opportunity arose, he would be given a chance."

Saker (pictured) was released by Surrey in 2008 and last season played in the Clydesdale Bank Pro40 competition for Unicorns.

Farbrace said: "He has worked hard on his fitness, so if he does have to come in we’ll have no concerns on that front."

PICTURE: BARRY GOODWIN

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