2008 County Preview - Kent

The reigning Twenty20 Cup Champions have brought in new and old faces into the team to try to improve upon their success of 2007. The club will be looking to improve in other forms of the game after only narrowly avoiding relegation from Division One of the County Championship. They have brought in Justin Kemp who played for the team in 2005 and 2006, they will miss Andrew Hall an established South African allrounder who played for the county last year but they will have a more than adequate replacement in Kemp. They have also obtained former Pakistan fast bowler Azhar Mahmood to strengthen their bowling attack. Mahmood qualifies to play by having a British passport after a number of years serving fellow south coast side Surrey. Min Patel has announced his retirement from the game at the start of the season; The spinner had played for the club since 1989 and has also represented England against India in 1996. The county will be looking to build on it success in last years Twenty20 Cup and with Kemp added to their line up they will feel they have the resources to improve in the shorter forms of the game. Captain Robert Key will be vital in the upcoming season as he looks to maintain his form from last season. The Kent skipper averaged 57 with the bat and was inspirational in the Twenty20 success, both with his leadership which enters its third year and his batting which was up at 70, the third highest in the competition. The team will be looking to get promoted back to the Pro 40 first division as they enter their fourth year in the second tier of the competition. The key to Kent’s season will be consistency, the club have struggled in previous years to provide consistent performances and last years success proves that it’s possible. The team are ever improving and are generally a young outfit who are adapting well to playing together. The Spitfires seems to have the right mix of age and youth and they will be looking for the continued development of youngsters such as Joe Denly who impressed in last years campaign. The club hasn’t enjoyed triumph in the County Championship since the end of the 70s and I can’t see that changing this year. However I do think they will consolidate a position in the top division and they will build on the short form of the game with winter acquisitions proving vital. In: Justin Kemp, Azhar Mahmood, Yasir Arafat Out: Andrew Hall, Min Patel 2008 Predictions County Championship Division One: 6th/7th Pro40 Division Two: Promotion Friends Provident Trophy: Group Stage Twenty20 Cup: Quarter Finals Star Man: Robert Key Top Tip: Justin Kemp Official Homepage By Richard Reardon