Denly hoping to shine for England
Denly hoping to shine for England

With cricket just a few weeks away now, Joe Denly has been speaking exclusively to KSN about the upcoming Test series with the West Indies.

Kent’s Joe Denly and Zac Crawley have joined up with the England squad for their build up to the First Test of the summer at the Ageas Bowl against the West Indies which is due to start in a fortnight’s time on July 8th.

“It’s very exciting,” Joe admitted to KSN from his new “home” in Southampton.

“It’s been a long time at home in Lockdown with the family – which has been very nice spending quality time with them – but we’re all itching to get back out there now for sure. I’m very excited about the coming weeks – hopefully, it will be a very competitive series against the West Indies.”

Joe arrived in Southampton on Tuesday and explained the schedule ahead of him and the others in the coming weeks.

“The next couple of days will see us all tested,” he told us, “We’ll be pretty much confined to our rooms at the ground which is where we’ll be based for the next few weeks until after the First Test.”

“Once those test results come back – and hopefully they’ll all be negative for all the players and staff – we’ll be able to get going as a group and get training under way and practice for the start of the First Test on July 8th in safe conditions for everyone as we try to get back to a bit of normality.”

“When it comes to preparing, the game itself is going to be a new experience behind closed doors with a lot of precautions in place in terms of cleanliness and everything like that which will hopefully take away the risk of anyone having symptoms.”

“We’ll be trying to get used to that over the next couple of weeks, trying to prepare as best as we can for the eighth.”

For Joe, it’s going to hopefully be a chance to renew rivalries with the Windies after he made his Test debut in the Caribbean in England’s last tour there in January last year.

“They’re a very competitive side that’s for sure,” he recalled, “they’ve got some quality players. I think the conditions that we experienced over there and some of the pitches we played on weren’t the best, and hopefully with the weather we’ve had recently, we’ll come across some good surfaces and good wickets which could make it a very even contest, but I think we’ve got quality and depth in the squad to win the series that’s for sure!”

“Hopefully, we’ll get the surfaces that can provide really good cricket with both bat and ball for everyone who is so desperate to see the game return!”

“We’ve got a three test series with the Windies with a one day series to run alongside – one Test here at the Aegas Bowl and the second and third at Manchester – at Old Trafford – and then Pakistan are coming over and a Test series with them starts almost as the Windies series ends.”

“So potentially a very hectic schedule coming up before hopefully heading into the winter as well. For me personally, an important part of me performing well is not to look too far ahead and I’m really focusing on July 8th and the First Test match and get myself in the starting eleven and just to try and do the best I can from there.”

“I hope that by seeing the return of cricket in the Test game, it may also open the door for the game at grassroots.”

“That’s the big reason why the ECB and those at a high level have really pushed and got every precaution in place to be able to get this series under way.”

“I think it’s vitally important for the growth of the game not just in England but all over the World, that cricket returns soon and as safe as possible.”

“It’s going to be very different circumstances for us all but these precautions that we all have to take are very important to get this series done; to get it started and hopefully if all goes well with us over the next month or so, then we’ll hopefully see some cricket being played all over the county and across the country from grassroots upwards, which I’m sure the whole nation is keen to do.”

It’s been a frustrating time for all associated with the sport, and Joe had praise for the Kent members; he said, “They’ve been really supportive – we have a lot of support and they are as desperate as we are to see cricket again. Everyone I speak to is the same – they’re going to have it on their TV’s to start with as they’re not going to be able to come and watch unfortunately.”

“But hopefully this is the start of the cricket season getting really under way and the domestic cricket will be able to follow the international footsteps in the next month or so and get under way.”