Where is it going wrong at Kent?

Sitting here on a torrential wash out of a day nationwide; Kent find themselves staring down the barrel of 5 games played, 0 wins. With this round of matches likely to end in a draw with Yorkshire. Having been widely predicted to challenge for honours this year, Kent now are rock bottom of Group 3 in this years county championship.


So where has it all gone wrong?


Failing batting line-up


Kent on paper should have a perfectly serviceable batting line up. Daniel Bell-Drummond is an experienced pro at the top of the order with Jordan Cox and exciting talent to partnering him. Zak Crawley has the number 3 shirt for England, whilst Joe Denly has been Kents best batsmen over the last half decade and has represented England in all 3 formats in the last year or so. Followed by Jack Leaning an experienced pro and Ollie Robinson the exciting keeping prodigy. Kent should fear no-one.


However, to say Kent's batsmen have struggled is somewhat of an understatement; Ollie Robinson is Kent's top run scorer at an average of 38.28 but with only one half century. Next is Darren Stevens who normally bats 9, with an average of 32.85.


With dire form being the name of the game Zak Crawley only managing an average of 32.25; despite being the man with the number 3 shirt for England and realistically should be Kent's best batsmen given this.


Joe Denly? He's averaging 12.


This is all too worrying a state of things in the batting line up.


Injuries


Injures have been a key piece in Kent's struggles this year. With Grant Stewart, Harry Podmore and Matt Milnes all missing from the starting XIs this year, 3 of Kent's first choice seam attack are missing and the effect has been all to stark with Fred Klassen being unable to step up to the plate; he has since been dropped for the youthful Nathan Gilchrist in this most recent round and Matt Quinn has been brought in on temporary loan.


The reliance on 45 year old Darren Stevens is all the more stark. With Stevens averaging 20.92 with the ball. Only the injured Harry Podmore averages less than 36 with the ball out of all Kent's bowlers (minimum one completed game).


Foreign acquisitions


In this Covid world, there is a sparkling array of foreign talent to be found in the county championship this year, from Hashim Amla batting 3 for Surrey to Simon Harmer for Essex to Marnus Labuschagne for Glamorgan amongst many others.


Kent have Heino Kuhn and Miguel Cummins.


Heino Kuhn, whilst a valuable member of the squad previously as a Kolpak player, he has struggled for runs in the county championship averaging 18.75 this year, previously in 2019 he averaged 25 and 33.91 in 2018; a pair of good games last year, struggles to justify Kuhns international player spot in the County Championship for Kent.


Miguel Cummins, is a West Indian fast bowler who averages over 40 from his 14 test mathces for his country. He had an excellent return for Middlesex last year averaging 20.69; having previously only played 3 games in 2019 averaging 33.25; the sample size to bring Cummins in as an international was somewhat limited. Given Cummins average at the time of writing is 81.60 in the county championship this year: the decision to bring him in as an international player must be in the discussion for the most disappointing signings of the year.


The lack of any semblance of performance from two key slots in Kent's line up must be further infuriating given they have previously signed Matt Henry and Tom Latham amongst others in the past for county championship duty with great success.


Conclusion


In all a culmination of issues face Kent and there is no quick fix. The injuries are unfortunate however the entire of the batting line-up failing consistently and the bowlers bar Stevens not producing the goods, it is looking bleak in Canterbury. The possible return of Sam Billings for next weeks match may aid the batting somewhat, but it is hard to see how Kent wrestle anything from the rest of their group stage games.



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