Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Aussies Get a Taste of What England Could Throw at Them in the Future

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Aussies Get a Taste of What England Could Throw at Them in the Future

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Collomosse Cricket Correspondent

AUSTRALIA will prepare for this summer's Ashes series by taking on some of the men they may face on their next tour of this country.

Many of Kent's cricketers will not figure prominently on the Aussies' radar. With their minds on facing the bowling of Jimmy Anderson and trying to stifle Joe Root's run-scoring, the tourists could be forgiven for paying only cursory attention to their next opponents. Yet Kent are so confident about the quality of their home-grown cricketers that they decided not to sign an overseas player this summer the only one of the 18 counties not to do so.

When you consider that Somerset and Surrey, to name two, brought in Chris Gayle and Kumar Sangakkara for part of the summer, it is a brave decision.

While the plan has not worked in the Championship Kent are bottom of Division Two it has paid off spectacularly in the NatWest T20 Blast.

Kent are top of the South Group after winning six of their nine matches and are on the brink of the quarter-finals.

Sam Billings made his England debut in the thrilling Royal London series against New Zealand and Jamie Clifford, the county's chief executive, is confident more players will follow the wicketkeeper-batsman into the national side, naming captain Sam Northeast (right) and fast bowler Matt Coles.

Finances, of course, played a part in Kent's decision to go with their own. Overseas players do not come cheap and despite making a PS658,000 profit, chairman George Kennedy said in March that the county "cannot afford" a foreign star.

Yet Clifford insists this is a cricketing decision, rather than one that will keep the bank balance healthy.

And as some of the players he has championed contemplate taking on Australia over the next four days, Clifford is confident England will eventually enjoy the fruits of Kent's work.

"While it might be difficult for us to rival the Yorkshire academy, we want to be producing as many players for England as we can," he told Standard Sport. …

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