Leaning looking forward to fresh start
Leaning looking forward to fresh start

In terms of County Championship cricket, certainly, Jack Leaning has been there, done it and bought the t-shirt. Now, having signed for Kent, he is aiming to raid the wardrobe again.

Leaning has signed a three-year contract to swap Emerald Headingley for the Spitfire St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury, this winter.

Aged 25, the batsman who bowls handy off-spinners is a two-time Specsavers Division One winner in 2014 and 2015 and could yet win a third title if something special happens for the White Rose over the next month.

Leaning is a former England Under-19 who hasn’t always been a regular fixture for Yorkshire in any format recently, but has put in a number of special performances, particularly during the title-winning years.

In 2014, his breakthrough year, he scored 465 Championship runs in 10 appearances before adding 922 from 15 matches the following year, including three hundreds. He was named Yorkshire’s young player of the year and earned a similar honour from the Cricket Writers’ Club.

“Looking back, the easiest two years of my career have been the first two,” he said. 

“That’s a bit strange for a young lad coming into a professional environment, but it’s so easy to play without fear because you play on pure adrenaline. You have no preconceived ideas and can go out there and enjoy yourself.

“It gets tougher from then because teams work you out and you adapt your game slightly.

“It’s been a challenge, and I’d have liked to have played more. But now I feel like I’m getting to the stage where there’s not really been a scenario I haven’t been in, whether it’s playing in front of 20,000 at Old Trafford or playing a Championship game to win a title.

“There have been plenty of good days, and hopefully that will stand me in good stead at Kent.

“As a fairly young player, I’m still quite experienced. Hopefully that means I can help the lads out down there and push us towards some silverware.

“I’m only 25, so who knows what the future might hold. Hopefully it’s a long and successful career down there, and I’m really looking forward to getting started and hitting the ground running.”

Leaning is currently out of Yorkshire’s Championship team but in their Blast XI.

He had discussions about remaining at his home county, while there were, “a couple of options on the table”.

“It was nice to go and meet a few other clubs, speak to them and get a positive outlook on my game from other places,” he admitted.

“But when I met up with the guys from Kent, the overriding feeling was one of excitement. That has stayed with me right the way through this whole process.

“Yorkshire was still an option and talks were ongoing. But, I felt it was the right time to make that change.”

Despite his excitement, it will be a wrench to leave the White Rose for a Bristol-born lad raised in York. But his time is not quite done yet.

“There’s still a bit of silverware on offer, and hopefully we can push for success towards the back end of the season,” he added.

“But I’ll take nothing but fond memories away from Yorkshire. It’s my childhood club. I’ve played here since I was 10. It will be a big change leaving, obviously, but it will be exciting to start the next chapter of my career and my life.” Meanwhile, Yorkshire are out of Vitality Blast quarter-final contention and face Northamptonshire at Emerald Headingley in their penultimate game on Thursday (6.30pm).​


 
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