Jones relishing chance of captaincy experience

Kent’s acting captain Geraint Jones preferred to overlook the ECB pitch panel’s controversial decision to dock the county eight points following their victory over Essex – opting instead to focus on the positives of their six-wicket success.

In Rob Key’s continued absence with a groin injury, the 35-year-old wicketkeeper and veteran of 34 Tests took charge of Kent for the first time in the LV= County Championship and very much enjoyed the challenge.

He took four catches and made two vital contributions with the bat, scoring 54 in the first innings and a cameo 28 from 14 balls second time around the ease the pressure and see his side over the line.

“The pitch was a major factor throughout the game and although it was never dangerous as such, it was a tough wicket to bat on,” conceded Jones afterwards. “So, for us to get 260 in that first innings was a fantastic effort. Joe Denly batted brilliantly up the top then James Tredwell’s partnership with me (97 in 34.3 overs for the sixth wicket) proved to be a game-changing stand.

“Then we managed to bowl them out for 144 and that was largely down to David Balcombe, who’s been incredibly consistent since the day he joined us on loan. He deserved his six-for and was superbly supported by the other boys, who remained disciplined and worked together, which is what I asked of them.”

Jones added: “It was great to win what was a hard-fought match right until the end. We had quite a young side out for this game, but I tried to give the younger lads as much responsibility as I could, not just with bat and ball, but with my field placing too.

“It’s best for them in the future, for the development of their own games, to be as fully involved now as they can be, and to be sharp, alert and thinking on their feet when in the field.”

Jones, who may yet lead the county again before the season’s end with Key (groin), Martin van Jaarsveld (groin) and James Tredwell (hamstring) all on the sidelines, says he enjoyed the added responsibility of captaincy.

He said: “I’ve enjoyed the extra pressure, and felt able to cope with it because the guys around me were so supportive. I said to them all beforehand that if anyone had ideas for a bowling change or field placing then I’d have an open mind, because someone might just come up with a gem.

“It’s a big workload to keep wicket, bat in the top six and lead the side, so I shared some of the responsibility and felt the overall results were great.

“I was pleased to remain fully focussed on the keeping and maintained my standards there. I learned a lot from the experience if I’m honest, but really enjoyed it.”

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