Podmore delighted with Kent switch
Podmore delighted with Kent switch

Kent have fortified their pace-bowling attack ahead of the new Specsavers County Championship season by signing 23-year-old Harry Podmore from near neighbours Middlesex.

Having come through the Middlesex age-groups and county academy system, Podmore put pen to paper this week on a deal that takes him to Canterbury for a reunion with Joe Denly and Imran Qayyum, his former team-mates at NW8.

He was sufficiently highly-rated by astute judges to earn a place on the ECB’s Pace Programme three winters ago – when he linked up with Kent coach Matt Walker, who was recruited to help the bowlers with their batting!

With first-team chances few-and-far between, Podmore spent loan spells with Glamorgan and Derbyshire last season, but says he wanted the chance to play more regularly – an opportunity that should come with this move to the Garden of England, where he will wear a Kent shirt bearing No1.

In explaining his reasoning behind the switch, Podmore said: “I’ve grown up playing for Middlesex but there comes a time in any sporting career when you have to grow up and make an adult decision in terms of where best to get your opportunities.

“I asked myself, is cricket something I really want to be doing? – and of course, it is. So, it stood to reason that the only way to do that is to try and make a career of it. It wasn’t really working out at Middlesex in terms of opportunity, sure I love the club and it’s all I really know, but there comes a time when you need to push on and make a decision that’s right for yourself. And for me, that time had come.

“I’m happy Kent have seen something in me and have given me this opportunity. I made my first-class debut at Canterbury and remember pretty much every single ball of it. My mum and brother came down to watch and Adam Rouse became my maiden first-class wicket.

“Kent have quite a close relationship with Middlesex and it seems a very homely club. The boys and the coaches were unbelievably welcoming to me and I’m really happy to be here. I spoke to James Harris, who was here on loan last year, and he had nothing but good words to say about Kent. He said I’d really enjoy it, and he’s not wrong. I’m getting really good vibes.”

Podmore became Kent’s fifth new signing of a busy close-season and follows Heino Kuhn, Adam Milne, Marcus Stoinis and Matt Henry through the main gates at the Spitfire Ground St Lawrence. However, the right-armer from Hammersmith conceded that the chance to work alongside iconic South Africa Test bowler Allan Donald – now Kent’s assistant coach ­– was a major factor behind his short move down the M2.

He said: “It almost goes without saying doesn’t it? Allan’s one of the greatest fast bowlers to have ever lived, so who wouldn’t want to pick his brains. If I can take a few things from AD, then it can only help my game.

“We’ve already spoken a little about match tactics, it was at the end of a net session and I found it really interesting. You can pick up so much knowledge from a man like that.”

Podmore had an operation to free a trapped elbow nerve at the end of last year and is happy to be bowling pain-free for the first time in three seasons. “It all went really well which is a massive relief,” he added: “And I can’t wait for the season to start.”