Kent skipper Rob Key has assured county supporters that the club’s batting linchpin and vice-captain, Martin van Jaarsveld, will be staying at the St Lawrence Ground.
Though the South African-born right-hander signed a long-term contract with Kent last year, rumours linking the prolific run-getter with a move to Lancashire have persisted all winter.
However, county captain Key was happy to quell the speculation by saying: “I would like to say I’m Martin’s closest friend amongst the squad here and he has committed his long-term future to the club. At this moment in time he’s more than happy with his lot at Kent.”
Acknowledging the county will have to operate under a shoestring budget this season and, in all likelihood, with no overseas professional, Key quipped: “We might need ‘Jarre’ as much for his bowling as his batting this summer!”
Meanwhile, across the border in Surrey, Scott Patterson has won promotion after being appointed head groundsman at the Oval.
Patterson, 31, has been with the county since 2007 after gaining previous experience at cricket clubs in Shenley and Horsham, as well as at Arsenal and Merchant Taylor’s School.
He will run the Oval’s team of groundsmen and continue to work alongside his predecessor, Bill Gordon, who remains at the ground to offer specialist support.
Patterson said: “It is a great honour to become head groundsman at such an incredible place as the Oval and I am very much looking forward to the new season.
“I would also like to take this chance to thank Bill Gordon for teaching me so well over the last four seasons. He is one of the top groundsmen in the world today and learning from him has been an amazing experience.”
Surrey chief executive Paul Sheldon said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Scott and I look forward to seeing him lead our ground staff over coming seasons.
“Bill has been a fantastic servant of the club for many years and I am delighted he will continue to work with Scott.”