Walker tips pair for big things
Walker tips pair for big things

Kent continue their pre-season campaign with coach Matt Walker hoping for a big summer for two of his stars with international honours up for grabs as 2021 continues in the shape a T20 World Cup and an Ashes Tour looming large on the horizon.

For skipper Sam Billings and batsman Zak Crawley, 2021 could be massive years for both and with Joe Denly and others pushing for international recalls, it could be an incredible summer for Walker’s charges.

It’s already a domestic summer that will start without skipper Billings who will be staying in India providing the shoulder injury that kept him out of the second ODI recently doesn’t prove to be as bad as it first appeared.

Walker has spoken to his skipper and had “good news” for the Kent faithful. “Sam’s fine and in good spirits – I spoke to him on the evening of the first ODI (the day he injured his shoulder) and he seemed in pretty good spirits.”

“He was sore of course, but the early signs suggest that although it’s a shoulder injury, it’s not related to what he did previously – which is great news – and more importantly, there was no dislocation this time which is really good news!”

“We’re waiting at the moment for feedback from the England physios but hopefully it won’t be too serious. The very fact that he batted is a good sign even if the injury didn’t help as he couldn’t really do much – the fact that he batted suggests that it’s not as serious as we first feared.”

“Hopefully, the diagnosis isn’t too serious, stay on for the IPL and play a full part in the rest of the winter for him.”

Crawley suffered during the Test series – missing the first two after slipping on a marble floor and injuring his wrist – but has returned to the Spitfire Ground full of determination as the coach told us.

“His wrist is fine and there’s no problem at all. He’s been hitting plenty of balls since he’s been back. He had a few days off when he first got home but re-joined the boys through the first week; he looks in great touch, hit the ball well and no signs of any problem around his wrist and he’s really looking forward to getting going again as you can imagine.”

“He’s hungry to start the season well and I think his experience in India was huge – it was a tough experience but something that he will value and be a better player for, I’m sure!”

Joe Denly who was overlooked by the national selectors in the winter has spent the domestic off season playing T20 cricket firstly in Australia and latterly in Pakistan before the PSL was suspended due to COVID19.

With the PSL due to restart in May, Walker had these words of “encouragement” for Kent supporters. “Joe’s contract with us supersedes the PSL so he won’t be going back to Lahore. So, he’ll stay with us as I understand it – we haven’t heard that he has to go back,” the coach told us before explaining, “What’s attractive about the PSL is when it’s staged which is in our winter block, so it doesn’t clash with any cricket and our commitments.”

“It may clash a little with pre-season but that’s not a problem; they’re playing which is great. It’s a different question if it’s in the middle of the season – bit like the Caribbean Super League which is why you see very few English players playing in it…”

Picture supplied by Max Flego Photography.