Hello there and welcome to the latest edition of ‘Canterbury Tales.’ It is Friday afternoon after all, but this week, we’re in uncharted territory as our weekly Kent County Cricket Club ramble starts with the above Tweet.

Why, you may ask? Because it sums up the last few weeks of this recently-miserable column. Or at least the hope that it starts with before the misery that is yet to unfold as Joe Denly is left out by England once more.

It also rather sums Denly’s tour of Sri Lanka. Starting off with so much promise but ending with disappointment. If that doesn’t suck you in, I don’t know what will! Although we can’t ramble too much before we even fully get underway in this week’s ‘Canterbury Tales’.

Catching Up

As we always do in everybody’s favourite HFAL series (apologies Alex and Amir, although I’m sure you did read and thoroughly enjoy last week’s episode), I’m going to remind you of the closing statement seven days ago. Yes, I’m going to persist with that leader-like line.

‘We hope that the next seven days won’t be so quiet in Denly town. Hey, at least it’s not going as bad for him in Sri Lanka as it is for the UK in Europe. At least he knows how to be out of something! Ah, more Brexit puns next week, promise.

Until next time…’

If you keep reading, there May be some more of those Brexit jokes. Then again, there May not! We’ll see how cynical I’m feeling as we progress and it’s likely I’ll be feeling very angry as I try to fathom with Denly has been left out by Joe Root and Trevor Bayliss for what feels like the millionth time. It is, in fact, the third.

Denly Disappointment

Yes, that’s right, Denly Disappointment, that all-too-familiar Denly disappointment that ever since his Man of the Match display in the only T20 between Sri Lanka and England, has engulfed all the Denly optimism. Having missed out on the starting team in the first Test due to performances in those stupid warm-up matches that should have never existed, he was left out of the second. And now the third despite England already wrapping up the series.

This is while the Three Lions have chopped and changed No.3’s when the best one has been under their noses for the whole time. And guess what?! He can bowl better than Rashid, too!

Watching fellow newcomer to the Test squad Rory Burns do so well has added to the pain for me. He and Denly were set to battle it out for a place, or possibly even open the batting together. ‘No Pants’ himself probably isn’t as bitter about missing out on his chance as I am. but that’s because he is genuinely a lovely man and I’m a bit obsessed.

As Denly became the first Kent man to be called up to the England Test team since James Tredwell in 2015, I perhaps got a bit too excited. Although there can be little doubting that he was deserving of one Test. Even if it was just the last one. Based on his award-winning summer and more.

Denly Dreams Into Nightmares

I teased myself with visions of Test matches where Denly would make hundreds with the bat at the top of the order and take five-wicket hauls with his excellent leg spin. Whilst reminiscing about some wonderful moments over the summer with Kent. Much like the great man’s Vitality Blast hundred and hat-trick at the Oval.

It was already painful going through the motions of his call-up to the ODI squad for Sri Lanka, a late one after an injury to Liam Dawson and him undeservedly not making an appearance in that five-match series. This was prior to his sole 20-over match heroics which have largely been ignored by the selectors.

But that’s the reality. One of great disappointment in Denly Town that our star man won’t be featuring at all in the third Test. Which got underway early this morning at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo.

What Now?

So what now, you May ask again? Well, after this column has focussed on Denly touring Sri Lanka with England for over a month now, we will be broadening our horizons as the tour comes to a close. Focussing primarily on Kent players involved in overseas competitions throughout the winter.

As for Denly, he will be one of them, jetting off to Australia to represent the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash. As well as this, he’ll be turning out for Karachi Kings in the PLS (Pakistani Super League) when it gets underway. With a possible tour of West Indies with England, Kent’s pre-season and maybe an IPL debut to fit in, as well.

Not So Bad Back Home

Am I going to focus on Denly Disappointment for the whole article? No I’m not. What sort of monster do you think am I? Instead, we’re going to touch on much excitement back home, here in Kent.

This week, the joy of new fixtures for the 2019 season being released occurs. Excitement which has been added to by another player signing on the dotted line of a new deal.

It was long-haired all-rounder Calum Haggett extending his contract through to the end of the dreaded cricketing summer of 2020. Splendid news. God, there’s such an amazing feeling around the club at the moment; I just can’t wait for the new season. Fantastic!

Billings Killing It

Finally a brief note before we say goodbye for another week. Denly may not have seen much England action this winter, but one man has seen more. His captain at Kent, Sam Billings.

The Pembury-native has been selected for England Lions’ series with Pakistan A in the middle east, which got underway with an unofficial Test match in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Although the Lions team he was skippering ended up on the losing side, Billings did top score with 74 not out in the first innings and second top score with 38 in the next. Bravo. He will now leave the tour to captain Bengal Tigers in the T10, before rejoining it next month.

Until Next Time…

I’m afraid, that’s all we have time for in this, the third week of November. I sincerely apologise for the lack of Brexit puns, but they May be getting a bit old for you now anyway. May-be? Join us once again next week. Or don’t. Your choice, really! But you’ll be missing out on more Kent fun!

Until next time…