Shaw keen to take opportunity at Kent

Kent’s left-arm pace bowler Ashley Shaw has targeted a return to first-team action by the end of May and a first-class bow by the end of the season after missing the second half of the 2011 campaign through injury.

The 19-year-old from Crewe, who made a shock Friends Provident t20 debut for the Spitfires at Lord’s last June, has since undergone surgery to correct persistent shin splint problems.

Sadly, Shaw broke down and had to fly home from Australia just after Christmas after his shins flared up once more, but his ‘gently does it approach’ second time around now looks set to pay dividends for the former Cheshire seamer.

“It’s been a bit of a stop-start affair since I signed for Kent last summer, but I’m hoping for more consistency fitness-wise and a good run of games for the first team this year,” said Shaw phlegmatically.

“That first game at Lord’s seems a long time ago now but it’s been a good motivator in trying to get back to full fitness. I’m hoping to be back for the start this year’s t20 and will hope to play at some more big venues after that.”

Managing his shin problem meant Shaw was only ever really available for limited-overs cricket last year, but he is keen to cap his 2011 campaign with a first-class debut.

Shaw, who now shares a rented flat in Canterbury with Kent team-mate Alex Blake, added: “I had the operation in September and then went out to Australia in early January, but was forced to come back within the month.

“It was a case of too much, too soon on hard playing surfaces, but I’m easing my way back now. I’m bowling at around 70 per cent capacity right now and have pencilled in a 2nd XI game against Durham at the end of April as my first match back. That’ll be my big test I guess.

“The great thing at Kent this year is that there are opportunities to be had. We aren’t blessed with a big squad or a huge bowling department, so if I can get fully fit and bowl well, then there’s no reason why I can’t stay in the side.”

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