Unfinished business for Bell-Drummond
Unfinished business for Bell-Drummond

Newly appointed vice-captain and stand in captain Daniel Bell-Drummond has said he has “unfinished business” as a Kent player.

Bell-Drummond, who turns 28 in August, will be leading the club into his 10th year as a Spitfire, but has insisted he still has much to learn.

“It has flown by to be honest” he said, speaking before the start of the 2021 English season. “I can remember my debut game against Loughborough University in 2011 very clearly, taking a bit of time off school to come and play. 

“Some of the guys get stuck into me about how long I have been playing. Even Michael Yardy (Kent batting coach) said it makes him feel young because he played against me a fair bit!

“I am looking forward to the season. I know it marks 10 years, but I have still got so much to learn. I still feel I am nowhere near where I want to be, and I know I can improve a heck of a lot. It is a brilliant landmark for me, but I have definitely got a lot of unfinished business and I know I can be a lot better.”

Bell-Drummond scored 185 runs in five matches in last season’s Bob Willis Trophy opening the batting for Kent at an average of 23.12, but topped the run-scoring charts in the T20 Blast with 423 runs from 11 games at a strike rate of 154.94.

He was in fine form in Kent’s warmup games, registering an unbeaten 63 against Middlesex before retiring on 101 against Essex less than a week later. He isn’t getting ahead of himself, though, and knows bigger challenges lay ahead.

“It has been great to start off as I have done” he said. “But tougher tests are to come.

“I had a really good winter. I was able to get abroad and play some cricket, so I have had experience and had some one-to-ones indoors with Matt (Walker – Kent head coach) and Michael Yardy.

“It has been great to start as well as I have done, and I have been training really well as well. I am looking forward to the season; tougher tests are to come.”

Bell-Drummond was recently confirmed as Kent’s new vice-captain, replacing Joe Denly, and will lead the Spitfires into the new season with regular captain Sam Billings away at the Indian Premier League.

The batsman is no stranger to the role, however, having captained Kent on 22 occasions previously, and he is looking forward to the challenge.

“I am approaching the season pretty similar to most seasons” he said. “I am making sure my game is in the best place it can be, and I am honoured to have been given the role of vice-captain at the club. I have done it a bit before – I know what to expect and I have some good coaches and senior players around me. I am keeping in contact with Sam as well; we have a plan in place, and I am looking forward to playing the role.”

Opening the batting in April is no easy task on the county circuit. Pitches are traditionally trickier to bat on earlier in the season, and with Kent Director of Cricket Paul Downton recently suggesting Kent could field an all-seam attack early on, the likes of Bell-Drummond will have a big task on their hands. The former England youth international isn’t shying away from the challenge, however.

“It is the same as every year” he admitted. “I want to score as many runs as possible and start well. You know how cricket is – you have good days and bad days, but I am feeling very good, and I am hoping for a very good year for everyone. The aim at the start of every season is to try and score as many runs as possible in all forms. 

“It can be quite random to be honest. There have also been some very flat wickets in April and May before – at Edgbaston we scored 500 or 600 once batting first.

“I am trying not to think too much about it. The conditions suggest it will be bowler friendly, but it is our job as batsmen to deal with all kinds of conditions. I am looking forward to the challenge, and I am hoping for a couple of flat ones too, but we will see.

“It is part of the job being an opening batsman on top of a normal batsman, so I am looking forward to the challenges that are coming up.”

Kent will kick off their 2021 season with a trip to Northamptonshire in the County Championship starting on Thursday, before they host England captain Joe Root’s Yorkshire a week from then.