As the tune of ‘All About You’ by McFly rings out in your head, substitute the word ‘baby’ for Denly. Keep that ringing as I’m here to bring you the latest edition of ‘Canterbury Tales’, my weekly ramble about my beloved Kent County Cricket Club.
As you might have guessed, for the next few weeks, we are going to be focussing on one man and one man only. The mighty Joe Denly. Keeping tabs on his England ODI, T20 and Test campaign over in Sri Lanka. But first, let’s have a bit of a catch-up.
So, what’s been happening down here in Kent since we last spoke seven days ago when we rounded off ‘The Big Kent Season Review?’ Well, the answer to that is not much at all.
Winter has well and truly set in as we reach that bizarre last weekend of October. When we all do that weird tradition of moving the clocks around. Apart from the club’s official Twitter page constantly reminding us to buy memberships for next season and playing us random clips of Sean Dickson hitting sixes, there has been next to no cricket-related news.
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— Kent Cricket ? (@KentCricket) 19 October 2018
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— Kent Cricket ? (@KentCricket) 25 October 2018
Denly On Tour
In light of that, it’s time to move onto the crux of this week’s Tales. The big man Denly on tour. Having been selected for any kind of England squad for the first time since 2010. To give you the whole story, he was only due to play in the three Tests with Sri Lanka but an injury to fellow spinner Liam Dawson saw Denly called up after the second ODI to the limited squad in his place.
The Canterbury native was getting down to a gym session at DW Sports Fitness Centre in his home city on Sunday 14 October and by the following Wednesday, he was at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
— Joe Denly (@joed1986) 14 October 2018
As Denly sat out and England went 2-0 up in the series, there was much talk that the beautiful man would be given his chance to shine in the final two 50-over matches. However, things didn’t work out like this. Even after Trevor Bayliss’ men wrapped up the series with a rain-affected victory in the fourth match, Denly wasn’t given a go for the final game, to the dismay of some fans. A dead-rubber record defeat saw the best ranked 50-over team in the world only come away with a 3-1 series triumph.
This would have been frustrating for Denly having played ODI cricket for England before but there is still the rest of the tour for him to get his big second chance, which we are going to discuss next.
Will He Get His Chance?
As I mentioned earlier, the tour still isn’t half-complete with a single T20 and three Tests still to come. Which will take us all the way to the end of November. Another four weeks of covering Denly. My delicious Denly feast.
This afternoon, 2:30 PM our time here in the UK, England have that 20-over clash with the Sri Lankans in Colombo. Perfect opportunity, should he be picked in the Xl, for Denly to readjust to the cricket scene before the much bigger challenges of the five-day games.
There can be little doubting that the all-rounder, whose spin has been deadly all summer as well as his supreme batting, deserves a place in the team for the one-off fixture. Not only did Denly take a hat-trick with the ball and score a hundred with the bat in the same Vitality Blast match in July but he also picked up the PCA MVP Award for the competition. In simple terms, the official Player of the Year.
Mind you, he also collected the accolade for almost firing Kent to victory in the Royal London One-Day Cup. Yet was still ignored for the matches he was available in Asia. So who knows?
Will He Get His BIG Chance?
This very much leads to the question of whether Denly will be a starter in the only squad he was originally in when it was announced, the Test one. The first time he has ever been picked for it. One would feel he is competing with Rory Burns for a place either opening the batting or in the top order, or anywhere really. He’s that versatile. In essence, the pair could open together. We could see anything really.
According to reports, the Kent man has been told to prepare to bat anywhere, including as an opener as there are arguably two opening spots up for grabs following the retirement of England legend Alistair Cook over the summer.
If Denly is given that BIG chance in any of the three outings, there is little doubt that he will need to grab it with both hands. Both with bat and with ball if the conditions are suitable. I, along with everyone else in Kent, has no doubt that he will do it and that he fully deserves the chance. We will just have to wait and see in the early hours of Tuesday 6 November.
What The F*ck Is T10?
Just quickly before we go, can someone please tell me what the f*ck T10 is please and why it’s being played in the UAE? And before we briefly discuss it, I do apologise for this non-Denly spam.
How does this mysterious T10 relate to Kent, Luke? Well, I’ll tell you why. Club captain Sam Billings has signed up as the captain of Stephen Fleming’s Bengal Tigers for the competition which includes random players from all over the world. It runs for nine days in late November into early December. With a bizarre mix of average and sensational players on show, it should be interesting.
Until Next Time…
Unfortunately, boys and girls, that’s all we’ve got time for in this week’s ‘Canterbury Tales’ and as ever, we thank for very much for reading our cutting-edge Kent analysis. The like of which you just wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere. Probably.
Next Friday, I will be back once again. God, aren’t you getting a bit sick of me spoiling your weekend yet? When hopefully, Denly will have made his first England appearance of any kind since February 2010 and we can look ahead to what will be an incredible debut Test series for ‘No Pants.’
Until next time…