Saker and Shreck bolster Kent

Cash-strapped Kent have bolstered their bowling resources by naming a loan player and a trialist in their first squad for the opening round of LV= County Championship matches.

Rob Key’s men include as a trialist the former Surrey seamer Neil Saker for the short trip to play Essex at Chelmsford, as well as on-loan right-arm seamer Charlie Shreck from county champions Nottinghamshire.

With injuries to Dewald Nel, Matt Coles and Ashley Shaw to contend with, Kent moved fast to bring in 33-year-old Cornish-born Shreck in order to strengthen the line-up.

The club’s director of cricket Paul Farbrace was taking calls throughout the final pre-season practice session in Canterbury on April 7 in order to secure Shreck’s services ahead of the opening day at New Writtle Street.

Shreck, who has taken 307 first-class wickets at an average of 30.58 as well as 86 scalps in all limited-overs cricket, said: “I’m grateful to Kent for providing me with an opportunity to play first team cricket and my aim is to make a positive contribution in their early fixtures and to return to Nottinghamshire in good form.”

As for Saker, he made a tentative comeback to the game last summer with the ECB Unicorns side, having undergone major operations to both knees in 2009.

Back to full fitness, the 26-year-old, who was released by Surrey in 2008, has wintered in Australia playing club cricket and admits he has re-kindled his love for the game.

“I’m not ashamed to say that I hated the game after my last year at Surrey,” said Saker. “I just couldn’t perform as I wanted because my body wouldn’t let me. If I’m honest, when they released me it was a weight off my shoulders.

“I’m just loving being able to run in and bowl properly now and my outlook is much more positive. I’m hoping I can make a difference at Kent and I’m so grateful for the chance to prove myself at this level again.”

Kent’s squad for the match at Essex: Key, Blake, Cook, Denly, Jones, Joseph, Northeast, Saker, Shreck, Stevens, Tredwell, Riley, van Jaarsveld

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