Does Kent CCC require a managerial revamp?

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After experiencing a dismal start to the season, Henry Sandercock questions whether it is time to reassess the managerial operations at Kent County Cricket Club.

From the Keynes bus stop, if you know where to look, you can just about make out the towering floodlights that loom over the St. Lawrence Cricket Ground. This vantage point perfectly highlights the issues surrounding Kent County Cricket Club at this point in time. The one-time giants of the County Championship currently find themselves languishing in the Second Division with just one win in five games. The problem? The commercialisation of cricket.

The floodlights encapsulate the kind of business that first-class cricket has become. They are in place to illuminate the pitch for 20-20 cricket fixtures; 20-20 being the most crowd-pleasing form of the game due to its intense and short nature. Some counties saw the rise of the shorter forms of cricket coming and pumped cash into large stadiums and star-studded teams. These same counties now engage in annual bidding wars to secure international test matches. Those matches are the real money-makers in the modern game, particularly because they attract large TV revenues. Due to its size and location, the St. Lawrence Ground simply cannot host tests and thus the county has suffered as a consequence.

Kent have punched above their weight in spite of this. They won the 2007 equivalent of the Natwest T20 Blast, were runners-up the following year and have had some strong seasons in the competition since then. However, they were relegated from the first division of the County Championship (2008) for the first time in their 166 year history and found themselves finishing the 2011 season in second-to-last place in Division Two.

However, it is not all bleak. Although they have started this season slowly, winning just one game in five, they are heading in a positive direction. They have exceptional young players in the form of Sam Billings and Daniel Bell-Drummond along with a new Kent Cricket programme that will only churn out more future stars. In Jimmy Adams, they also have a coach committed for the long-term and who has signalled his intent to get Kent back where they belong. Through these three important facets, they have learnt how to get by without the cash-flow of county clubs like Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.

Kent also has an exceptionally strong and talented women’s side that contains current England captain Charlotte Edwards, batsman Lydia Greenway and all-rounder Laura Marsh. They are currently sitting third in Division One and are unbeaten in the women’s professional era. It will still be a few years until Kent can emulate the days of Colin Cowdrey and Derek Underwood but they are certainly on their way.


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