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Rob Key returns to role as Kent Captain as James Tredwell steps down to focus on England career while Sam Northeast is new vice-captain

By Alex Hoad
Kent's new vice-captain Sam Northeast and captain Rob Key
Kent's new vice-captain Sam Northeast and captain Rob Key

James Tredwell has confirmed he is standing down as Kent captain to concentrate on his England career, with predecessor Rob Key returning to the role after a 51 week absence.

Tredwell - who became a father for the second time this week with the arrival of son Samuel - revealed on Wednesday afternoon that he was handing the captaincy back to Key to focus on his role as one of England’s first-choice spinners in limited overs cricket.

In a season of frustration for the club, the 31-year-old missed five of Kent’s championship matches, two YB40 clashes, four t20 games and the tour match with New Zealand while on England duty.

And with the prospect of further international commitments in Australia this winter, plus the visits of India and Sri Lanka to England next summer, it could mean Tredwell’s availability is limited again in 2014.

He said: "It was with great honour that I took on the captaincy, and it has been a very tough decision to not carry on.

"However, my increased involvement with the England one day squad meant I missed large chunks of time in Kent colours and found this particularly difficult.

"This may or may not be the same going forward, so in the eventuality I may not be around I feel it is in the best interests of our team here at Kent that I stand aside."

Between 2006-2012, Key led Kent to two Twenty20 Cup finals – winning in 2007 – and the Friends Provident Trophy final in 2008 while they won Division 2 in 2010, only to be relegated the following season.

He said: "I’m delighted to take the reins again. I believe we have a talented group of players and I hope to lead them to success."

Key is only the second Kent skipper to return for a second season in sole possession of the captaincy, after Asif Iqbal took the reins in 1977 and again in 1981 and 1982.

Sam Northeast - who agreed a two-year contract extension this winter - will serve as Key’s vice-captain this term and has been linked with the main role in the future.

He said: "It is a huge honour to be given this opportunity to contribute to Kent. It will be good to work under Rob and I hope I can learn from him.

"I’m looking forward to the 2014 season and I hope we can put things in place which will bring success."

Chairman of cricket Graham Johnson said: "We respect James’ desire to focus on his England career and we thank him for his leadership last season. He remains committed to the club and retains his desire to offer leadership to the club in the future.

"In Rob, clearly we have someone with all the attributes required of a captain who has shown a great commitment to the county over a great number of years, and a player who has progressed through the Kent system.

"Having had a season off from what is a demanding role, he shows a renewed desire for the role and an appreciation of what it will take to develop Kent’s on-field performance from a squad with much potential."

He added: “Sam has also risen through the Kent system, demonstrating a great deal of potential and contributing at the highest level. The combination of the two is exciting."

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