It’s Friday, the sun’s shining and spring is almost upon us. It truly is a wonderful time to be alive. Especially if you’re a Kent fan! Well, we know that all too well, but we’ll get onto that later.

Yes, ‘Canterbury Tales’ is back in its usual Friday afternoon slot and having focussed solely on the beautiful man that is Joe Denly and his England trials and tribulations over the last few weeks. We’re going to open up and cover some of the other stuff that’s been going with Kent in this time and some of the stuff that’s going on now. Let’s get down to it and in the words of Alex Whitington, “let the bat see the ball!”

What A Time To Be A Kent Fan!

First of all, I’m going to explain a little bit about why, at the time of writing, it’s a simply wonderful, wonderful time to be a Kent fan. “When isn’t?” I hear you say. “The last nine or so years!” is my reply.

Not only are we under two months away from the start of the season, it’s our first County Championship Division One campaign since 2010. We’ve both men’s and women’s England players coming out of our ears. And we’ve just signed two internationals cricketers for the 2019 campaign. That’s just some of the incredible things unfolding in Canterbury! My word, I can’t remember the last time I was this excited…

Renshaw Fancies A Bit Of Canterbury

So, there’s little denying that the biggest bit of Kent news while Denly’s been showing the Windies what he’s all about, is the signing of Australia batsman Matt Renshaw for the early part of the new season.

This is one I’m very excited about. An Aussie international plying his trade at the Spitfire Ground. Marvellous! Especially when you consider we prized him away from Division One rivals Somerset, who enjoyed his services last season.

I was surprised to learn that he was bizarrely born in Middlesbrough, meaning England have missed out on a real talent somewhere along the way. He will be needed at Kent, however, in this period, with captain Sam Billings and my beloved Denly playing in the IPL. Just look at some of his attributes…

And we also announced a few days later that Adam Milne will be with us for the Vitality Blast. This is another big boost and he clearly loves the Nando’s in Canterbury as this is his third successive year committing to Kent. Take note Matt Henry.

Milne will be coming down to our south-easterly county with great confidence having helped Central Stags to win the Super Smash in his native New Zealand. Kent’s Daniel Bell-Drummond also played in the competition, reaching the semi-finals with Auckland.

Our squad is shaping up VERY nicely for 2019!

Double England Delight For Kent Fans

Onto a more recent Kentish story now and no it’s not the appointment of Chris Swadkin as 2019 Club President. It’s the tale of double England delight for Kent fans like me and most likely, you, as well.

In the last 24 hours, England announced their squad for the three-match 20-over international series against the Windies. Not only did Denly retain his place after a Man-of-the-Match-performance in their last fixture, but Sam Billings earned a recall too.

This was the skipper’s first national call-up since the tour of New Zealand last year. Although he has played and well too for the Lions throughout the winter. Skippering them in both the UAE and India.

All of this makes for a very tantalising prospect indeed, for on Tuesday 5 March, two Kent players could play together in the same England team for the first time since 2006. Then, Geraint Jones and a rather scary-looking in the picture below, Rob Key, faced South Africa in a Test match.

2019 Fixtures Doubled Down

Speaking of the incredibly exciting new season, I might have mentioned it once or twice this year, all the fixture timings have been confirmed after the announcement of the new fixtures at the back end of last year.

There was no real headline changes on this front but I thought I would include this news because I cannot wait for the domestic campaign to start. Yeah, international cricket is great when England pick Kent players, but we all love County cricket that little bit more. Even if this summer does feature a home World Cup and Ashes series.

Did you know that at the time of writing, at least a day before you get the phenomenal feeling of reading this superb edition of ‘Canterbury Tales.’ It’s a mere six weeks until we get underway at Somerset in early April. That’s just 42 days!

Denly Deserves ODI Chance

We’ve reached our final segment and it’s not quite as positive as the others, it’s a bit of a rant actually. If you know me or are a regular reader of these columns, you’ll be used to these.

I’m sorry, but why on earth are England leaving Denly out of the ODI starting team now?

It’s not like he had an impressive Test debut series a couple of weeks ago and was voted the Royal London One-Day Cup MVP for the last season now, is it?

Oh, wait that is exactly what he did! If you’re going to include my Canterbury Prince in the Test team, you surely have to include him in the 50-over one? That’s his forte for crying out loud!

Now, I know what you’re thinking and frankly, I don’t care. I don’t care that Eoin Morgan’s England chased down a total of 361 to win the first ODI in the five-game series. And broke all kinds of records in the process without him. There’s a World Cup in June and Denly needs to be included if we are to have any kind of chance. Sort it out please, England.

Until Next Time…

Unfortunately, and I know how much you’d like to see this edition of everyone’s favourite Kent ramble carry on forever, it’s time to say goodbye for another seven days. I’ll miss you, see you next Friday.

Until next time…