Denly on 2020 season
Denly on 2020 season

This week, Kent should be playing their second County Championship game of the season at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton against Hampshire.

But of course, the Championship hasn’t started yet leaving our cricketers frustrated at home.

KSN has been talking to Kent and England batsman Joe Denly and he admitted that it’s a frustrating time. “When you see the beautiful weather outside for a game of cricket,” he told us.

“It’s almost rubbing salt into the wounds a little bit. Its frustrating as cricketers that this time of year that we’re out there fairly active right in amongst the season but its disappointing but not much that we can do as we just have to sit tight and hopefully when the time comes around to getting out there to play and training hopefully this weather will still be around!”

Cricket is arguably fortunate that the new season hasn’t yet begun unlike the football seasons. Denly has sympathies for his counter parts; “I feel for the all the football leagues,” he said.

“You plan and you train for your seasons and to have it disrupted midway through whether your fighting against relegation or battling for promotion that could all be lost. I can’t imagine being in that position – it must be very demoralising to say the least. But fortunately we haven’t started yet – hopefully we will start and have some sort of season but it’s all going to be a new experience for us as players and for all the teams around the country, its going to be a completely different look to what we’re used to.  Its going to be interesting but hopefully we will get some sort of play at some point.”

“We’d had a busy winter touring New Zealand, we’d been to South Africa and we were on the last leg of our winter tours in Sri Lanka – a fantastic place to go and play cricket – we were in the middle of our final warm up game just before the First Test and it was a bit of a weird situation really. It was all kicking off back home and around the World with coronavirus – a lot of out thoughts and attention was what was going on at home with our families and friends all over the world as opposed to the job at hand which was preparing for a Test Match against Sri Lanka in a few days’ time. 

“It was certainly the right call to come back when we did and probably fortunate that we did come back when we did because it might have been a bit of a struggle to get back. I think everyone was chomping at the bit to get on that plane and get home to their families and spend these uncertain times at home with our families and friends.”

The management at Canterbury are doing their best to keep the players informed as to the latest news as Denly told us. “Walks (coach Matt Walker), Paul Downton, and Sam Billings, these guys have all been in regular contact with the group – we’ve got our Whats app groups and we have Zoom webinars and virtual meetings every week just to catch up keeping us in the loop as to what potentially might be happening. 

“We’re all in regular contact and we’re doing what we can off the field in terms of our fitness and stuff like that trying to keep as fit as we can. Certainly in the last couple of years its one thing that we’ve tried to work on is our communication off the field and coming together as a team and as a squad building our relationship off the field which hopefully bodes well for performances on it.  It’s a very close-knit club and we’re all trying to stay as upbeat as possible.”

Potentially it’s a massive year for Denly with an Ashes tour still scheduled for the end of the year, and the Kent man was honest enough to admit, “I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t thinking about it absolutely and theres also the Twenty20 World Cup which I’d love to take part in as well.

“I spoke to Chris Silverwood the other day catching up and once this Lock-down finishes he was saying its potentially going to be a mad schedule coming up in terms of the way that we could finish the summer and then what might take place during the winter.  I’d love to play in another Ashes series without a doubt.

“The one that I played in last summer was nice to level the series not lose the Ashes as we were able to draw the series. To go over to Australia where I’ve played a lot of grade cricket – I love playing there, I’ve always enjoyed playing there but to go out there and play an Ashes series and have that chance to regain the Ashes in Australia would be absolutely fantastic.  So hopefully we’ll get out there playing some cricket over here soon and I can carry on the form that I had last year.”

Turning back to the current situation, Denly said, “It’s not only the players who are missing being out there playing, it’s the fans as well and all of our members and our supporters as well to enjoy the weather like this and enjoy coming to support Kent down at the Spitfire Ground and our away matches as well. 

“It’s important that communications stays there and it would be nice to see everyone at the ground and have chats with them there, so having the on-line forums on the web and being able to communicate that way and answer any questions that they might have is very important as its not only challenging times for us, its challenging times for everyone. 

“We’re all looking forward to seeing all our fans back at the Spitfire Ground – we’re missing being out there and putting on performances for them. We all have to be patient at this time – when we do get back, hopefully we can do you all proud as we did last year!”