Kent supporters get first glimpse of bowlers Milnes and Klaassen

PUBLISHED: 16:38 04 April 2019

Kent's Sean Dickson in batting action (pic Mike Egerton/PA)

Kent's Sean Dickson in batting action (pic Mike Egerton/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Kent supporters had their first glimpse of winter pace-bowling recruits Matt Milnes and Fred Klaassen in Canterbury this week – ­­and there was plenty to admire.

The new-ball bowlers both featured in Kent’s rain-effected draw against Loughborough MCCU played over three blustery days at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, where a weakened county side battled against the students in Kent’s season’s opener.

Though drizzle and bad light restricted play to two completed innings, home supporters found plenty to applaud with an unbeaten five-hour century from opening batsman Sean Dickson, lively bowling stints from Milnes and Klaassen and a couple of wickets apiece for Harry Podmore and Daniel Bell-Drummond, the acting captain.

Klaassen, 26, a tall, Sussex-born left-arm seamer who plays international cricket for the Netherlands, extracted bounce, beat the bat and found the edge on his home debut, but had Lewis Kimber dropped at second slip and saw another chance go begging as the ball flew through the cordon at catchable height.

While 24-year-old Milnes, who agreed terms to move from Nottinghamshire at the tail end of last season, enjoyed a little more luck on his St Lawrence bow, taking three for 95 as Loughborough declared on 248 for nine in reply to Kent’s 247 for eight declared.

And, like the club’s supporters, Allan Donald, Kent’s assistant coach and former South Africa Test firebrand, has seen plenty to admire in both bowlers.

“It was great that Kent were able to come over to South Africa in pre-season and prepare for these opening games,” said Donald.

“It gave me time to get to know Fred and Matt and to work on their skills for a whole month.

“We focussed on plenty of aspects, but especially on the white-ball skills, which plenty of younger lads find that little bit harder to master. On top of that, they’ve both looked useful with the red ball, so overall, I was chuffed with their reaction and the work all the lads put in.

“It was a great time to catch up on our values and what we stand for as a cricket team.

“We spoke about the deep values, the core beliefs, what it means to play for Kent and how the lads want to take that forward as a team. It’s now time to step into the ring and we pretty much know what we’re in for.”

However, Kent start their Specsavers County Championship Division One campaign against Somerset in Taunton from tomorrow (Friday) without their Indian Premier League stars Sam Billings, the club captain, and Joe Denly, the vice-captain.

Bowlers Grant Stewart and Ivan Thomas are both on the comeback trail from injury, but the county are bolstered by the return of Heino Kuhn, who will lead the side as interim skipper, while overseas signing Matt Renshaw, the 23-year-old English-born batsman with 11 baggy green caps for Australia, is in line for his Kent debut against the side he represented at the start of 2018.

Ollie Robinson is likely to keep-wicket, while Adam Riley provides the spin option in Kent’s 13-strong squad. Kent from: Crawley, Dickson, Renshaw, Bell-Drummond, Kuhn, Robinson, Stevens, Podmore, Milnes, Riley, Claydon, Klaassen, Blake.

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