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Cricket: Kent's young new-ball duo combining to good effect

PUBLISHED: 19:55 22 June 2019 | UPDATED: 19:55 22 June 2019

Harry Podmore of Kent celebrates taking the wicket of Ravi Bopara during Essex CCC vs Kent CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 29th May 2019

Harry Podmore of Kent celebrates taking the wicket of Ravi Bopara during Essex CCC vs Kent CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 29th May 2019

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The burgeoning friendship between recent Kent recruits Matt Milnes and Harry Podmore is starting to bear fruit on the field where the young new-ball partners are beginning to make their mark on the Specsavers Championship top flight.

Matt Milnes of Kent celebrates taking the wicket of Daniel Lawrence during Essex CCC vs Kent CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 27th May 2019Matt Milnes of Kent celebrates taking the wicket of Daniel Lawrence during Essex CCC vs Kent CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 27th May 2019

Milnes, who joined Kent from Nottinghamshire in the close season, and Podmore, now in his second season having switched from Middlesex at the end of 2017, have already taken almost 70 championship wickets between them this summer.

Right-armed swing and seam bowlers who seemingly complement each other's style, they both bagged five-wicket returns during the county's crucial Specsavers Championship win over Nottinghamshire at The Nevill last week.

In only his 16th first-class game Milnes took 5-64 against his old club for a maiden first-class five-for, while Podmore clinched 5-41 in the second innings, including a crucial opening burst of 8-3-24-3 that sparked Kent's drive for victory.

Already good mates off the field, they are, according to Podmore, thoroughly enjoy each other's success on it.

"Matt came to live with me in the same flat when he arrived at Kent and we've got on really well right from the start," said Podmore.

"I've obviously not known him for that long, but we're like best mates already and he's a top professional in the way he trains and works at his game as well as being a top bloke.

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"That's why I was so chuffed for him during Nottinghamshire's first innings of the match (at Tunbridge Wells) when he got his maiden first-class five-wicket haul.

"It was particularly special that he did it against his old county, and I knew exactly how he felt when he got that fifth wicket because my own first five-for in championship cricket was against my old club Middlesex last season.

"Matt and me are the same age - there's only a few days between us actually - and we both turn 25 next month (July) and so I reckon we can be a bowling partnership for a lot of years to come if we keep improving and working hard."

Podmore added: "I think we complement each other in style, and we're both so happy to see the other succeed. I think the fact we're best mates helps to drive us on, because we can support each other both on and off the field.

"My bowling heroes are the Australians, Glenn McGrath and Josh Hazelwood, because like me they weren't and aren't 90mph bowlers. I'm never going to be that, either, so I concentrate on staying patient and being consistent with my skills.

"I think if I do that the rewards will come, and that's exactly what happened at Tunbridge Wells. In their first innings I didn't get the luck but then the rewards came in their second innings with three new-ball wickets and five-for overall.

"People like McGrath and Hazelwood, like all the very best bowlers, stay calm and stick to what they do. I like to do that, to stick to what I do and keep it tight and let the wickets come."

Podmore and Milnes will be on the hunt for more wickets come Sunday week, June 30, when Kent welcome Warwickshire for their eighth championship start of the season. Play is scheduled for an 11am start.

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