Kent focus back on the Championship
Kent focus back on the Championship

Kent can forget their horrific Royal London One-Day Cup campaign and refocus on the season’s main aim of winning county championship promotion when they return to four-day action against Leicestershire at the Fischer County Ground from Friday.

Having finished bottom of the south group to crash out of the national 50-over campaign with only one win from eight starts – the worst playing record among the 18 counties – Kent will hope instead to rekindle the fine early season Specsavers County Championship form which saw Sam Northeast’s side move up to second spot in Division 2 with three wins from as many starts.

The county’s opening batsman Daniel Bell-Drummond, one of the few Kent players to maintain form across red and white-ball cricket thus far, sees no reason why the side should not revive their winning ways in the first-class format.

“To only get one win meant that the RLODC was a disappointing tournament from a team point of view and to only get one win wasn’t good enough, but we need to take that from our minds now,” said the England Lions batsman.

“The only way is forward now and I’m hopeful that we can hit the ground running again in the red-ball format. We’ve gone very well in that so far and I see no reason why the guys can’t pick up where they left off.”

Bell-Drummond added: “We have no choice but to pick ourselves up from our showing in the 50-over stuff and go again at Leicester. Our confidence may be a bit lower than it was, but the two formats are completely different and I’m sure we’ll be fine.

“To be honest, we’re already looking forward to it given how this one-day tournament went for us.”

With one eye on tomorrow’s trip to the East Midlands, Kent made numerous changes for their final RLODC game with Essex, opting to rest half-a-dozen first team regulars who will all return that little bit fresher.

“Quite a few of the senior guys have had a day or two off which was well deserved. Guys like ‘Stevo’ [Darren Sevens] and Mitch [Claydon] have had a hectic time and have bowled quite a few overs already so, with nothing resting on the Essex match for us, it was good to give some of them a game out.

“We don’t underrate anyone in the county championship as s much can happen over the course of four days, but on our day we know we have enough firepower to beat anyone and if we’re not consistent up there they will punish us.”

With Mitch Claydon back in Australia on compassionate leave, Kent welcome back Middlesex loanee James Harris and Will Gidman to their 13-man squad. Adam Rouse will also continue to keep wicket while Sam Billings continues his duties with England.

Kent squad: 17 Sam Northeast (c), 23 Daniel Bell-Drummond, 58 Sean Dickson, 6 Joe Denly, 10 Alex Blake, 42 Will Gidman, 3 Darren Stevens, 12 Adam Rouse (wk), 25 Calum Haggett, 26 Matt Coles, 15 James Tredwell, 4 James Harris, 14 Matt Hunn.

Leicestershire squad: 2 Paul Horton, 5 Harry Dearden, 55 Mark Cosgrove (c), 33 Ned Eckersley, 6 Mark Pettini, 84 Colin Ackermann, 19 Tom Wells, 23 Lewis Hill (wk), 32 Zak Chappell, 7 Gavin Griffiths, 77 Dieter Klein, 27 Clint McKay, 10 Callum Parkinson.