A forum for Kent CCC fans
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By gmdf
#22422
...Has extended his contract:

http://www.kentcricket.co.uk/news/alex- ... -contract/


As Graham Johnson (Chairman of Cricket) says:
“Alex has broken the mould by earning his county cap predominantly through contributions in white-ball cricket.

“We’re delighted he has committed his future to the club as we believe he is a batsman capable of contributing in all formats.”
Can't think of any other players who have been capped just for their white ball performance (in counties where being capped means something, rather than being automatic once a player débuts), but maybe others can... :thinking:
By Umpire
#22423
Benny Howell?

But the whole 'capping' thing is an outdated throwback to the Gentlemen v Players era, isn't it? The more progressive counties have either stopped capping anyone, or abolished the distinction by making f/c debut and cap synyonymous.

Blake desrves his recognition, though. He told me several times over the years how frustrated he was as losing his place not only to gratuitous overseas batters Latham and Neesham but to plodding journeymen like Scotty Newman and Ben Harmison.

Given a run in the CC side, Blake believes he would have scored more runs than any of them. And I suspect he's right.
User avatar
By gmdf
#22424
I agree that Alex deserved his cap, and whilst I do think he has much to offer the CC team, he has played 38 first class matches with an average of 24. Which isn't enough.

BTW Newman surely was an opener, and Neesham -an all rounder- only played T20 cricket. Which Blake also did. Latham, another opener, is a Test player, and had a much higher average.
By Umpire
#22426
So Alex Blake has played 38 f/c matches in ten seasons - half of which were in non-competitve fixtures versus university sides and touring teams, in games in which Kent rested most of the first X!?

You say he has been given enough oportunities to rule himself out of consideration as a f/c bastman. But in three seasons between 2013-15 he played just one CC game while journeymen like Harmison and Powell held down regular places in the top five?

This season even Rouse was selected ahead of Blake as a non-keeping batsman.

Between May and Sept, Kent won only one CC game in 2017. Yet Blake was still ignored and didn't play a single CC game all season.

You are clearly not prepared to allow any criticism of the county you support, and your unquestioning loyalty is admirable,.

But in the last dozen or so seasons, the Kent side has basically consisted of half a dozen cricketers who would have been of first-class quality in any era, and five who have been little better than part-time club cricketers.

That makes Kent a perfect illustration of what Boycott meant when he said we can no longer sustain 18 f/c counties.

Nothing to do with Durham or any other county going bankrupt. Boycott was talking about the decline of the English coaching system, in which almost all f/c players now come from fee-paying schools, which means that the pool of cricketers of first-class calibre is nearer 200 than 350. And - unpalatable though I find it - that means perhaps 12 f/c counties rather than 18.

You blithely say it won't happen, but it is already underway. The first division is moving so far ahead of the bottom five or six clubs in Division Two that the next step will be three divisions of six, with the third division reduced to semi-pro/minor county status.

I would stake my shirt on there being three divisions by 2025 at the latest. Sadly the odds are against Kent ever again becoming a regular Division One side, but they need to ensure they remain a solid Division Two club rather than becoming Division Three also-rans.
User avatar
By gmdf
#22429
You have to ask why Blake didn't play red ball cricket...As this was a question asked at more than one forum this season, I can tell you the answer that Matt Walker gave: - Alex was told he needed to score runs consistently in red ball cricket for the Seconds...and he hasn't been able to do that. (Indeed he was a lot less successful than Adam Ball and Zak Crawley - which is presumably why the latter was selected ahead of him at the end of this season).

Personally, as a KCCC member & supporter, I'd like to see Alex forcing his way into the 1st XI. But I can't fault the thinking Walker revealed.

By the way I agree with you about the lack of new players coming from state schools, but this is something that has its roots in changes in schools going back to Thatcher (selling off playing fields) and Major - ironically (in establishing the National Curriculum and OfSTED). As a new teacher in 1981 who was a keen, if untalented, cricketer, I was given control of the school 1st XI (I was not a PE teacher, incidentally), and I spent a lot of time in the summer running said team. If starting today as a young teacher I would have no time to do so given the results driven environment state schools inhabit these days. And state school, unlike (some) independent schools don't have the money to employ professional sports coaches.

So it is down to clubs - both amateur and professional - to fill the gap.

Last point - Harmison (less so Powell) was a limited player, perhaps, but he averaged more than Alex Blake in first class cricket, although I think we'd all say Blake has far more natural talent. It's up to Alex to respond to that with runs in red ball cricket.

PS My loyalty, as you put it, is far from 'unquestioning', but the average criticism opined by supporters (in all sports, I suspect) is formed from thoughtlessness and a measure of ignorance. Not aiming at you here, but too often comments don't reflect the very real difficulties of the situation clubs like Kent find themselves in.

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