Exciting Kent threaten to make a T20 impact

Sam Billings never got out of the nets in World T20, but he is bound for IPL © Getty Images

Head coach: Jimmy Adams
Captain: Sam Northeast

Last season
Specsavers Championship: 7th Div 2; NatWest Blast: QF; Royal London Cup: QF

In: Adam Rouse Out: Brendan Nash (released), Ben Harmison (released) Overseas: Tom Latham, Kagiso Rabada (July)

2015 in a nutshell

Kent were a delight to watch in limited-overs cricket last season, but could not follow up the plaudits with trophies as they exited in the quarter-final stage in both competitions. In the likes of Sam Northeast, Sam Billings (one of only three England players signed up for an IPL deal) and Daniel Bell-Drummond they have an exciting crop of young players who are bringing fresh live to Canterbury under the wise observation of Rob Key.

2016 prospects

Kent do not have the appearance of serious challengers in Division Two of the Championship, for all their batting depth, but they have been lifted by a six-week mid-season spell for the young South African quick Kagiso Rabada. Early season will be more challenging for Sam Northeast’s exciting young squad, especially with Sam Billings on IPL duty: Tom Latham has the batting attributes to help them through the tough days. In one-day cricket, though, they can surely push for a trophy. South African-born Sean Dickson can add to that batting lustre, and all it needs is one young pace bowler to take his opportunity for them to be a limited-overs side to be reckoned with. With many seeing England’s T20 future as wedded to international grounds, they need to make themselves heard.

Key player

With question marks around their pace bowling stocks, Kent’s potential trump card lies in two offspinners at either ends of their career, James Tredwell and Adam Riley. Riley had a second-season dip in 2015 after he was prematurely touted as an England possible in his breakthrough year. Kent remain convinced Riley has all the attributes to become an international spinner and are delighted to have tied him to a new contract.

Bright young thing

Kent have any number of bright young things when it comes to batsmen, but they are sorely in need of extra pace bowling resources. They will hope that Matt Hunn, a 6ft 5ins fast bowler, will make further strides this summer after winning a few headlines last season with three wickets against the Australian tourists but the solve the problem long term they might have to widen their developmental base.

ESPNcricinfo verdict

Kent’s formidable T20 batting line-up gives them an excellent chance of reaching Finals Day, even without a heavy overseas spend, but it would take a summer of turning pitches for them to challenge for the Second Division title.

Bet365 odds: Specsavers Championship, Div 2: 9/1; NatWest Blast n/a; Royal London Cup 20/1

David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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