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JOE Denly has not played international cricket in seven years but Min Patel sees no reason why the in-form Kent batsman can’t earn a recall after an impressive first half of the campaign.
The 31-year-old and Sean Dickson created history as they set a new county record of 382 for the second wicket in their first-class match with Leicestershire this week.
But as Dickson commanded the attention for his mammoth 318, Denly’s 182 was overshadowed – yet his fourth ton of the season is further evidence of a player, perhaps, in the form of his life.
With England’s top-order collapsing on the opening day of their Test series against South Africa and question marks surrounding the form of several contenders such as Haseeb Hameed – Patel, a Kent legend, sees no reason why Denly, who has played nine ODIs, can’t force his way into the Test reckoning.
“Joe has been in great nick all season and has got some big runs,” he said.
“He is getting back to his best and now he is looking forward to the T20 stuff, where he has excelled.
“He is coming into form at just the right time. Joe has dabbled with the England one-day stuff and he is aware that if he wants to get in again he has to keep performing at this level.
“There are a lot of talented batters around the England set-up, like [Haseeb] Hameed and [Keaton] Jennings. He is a bit older in the tooth than a few of those but eventually he will get recognised I think, if he keeps going like he has been.”
With the T20 Blast set to get underway today, Kent have plenty to smile about as they head into the second half of the domestic season – with their County Championship promotion bid gathering momentum.
Notts look likely to go up as they lie comfortably clear at the top, but Kent are giving chase. And Patel claims one of the major contributing factors is the addition of former Yorkshire coach and Australia great Jason Gillespie.
“Jason has had a lot of success in his very short coaching career but his philosophy is one that is very simple – it is not rocket science, he has basic values and principles and teaches skills we need to execute on a consistent basis,” he said.
“He is a great guy to have around, he is a very relaxed bloke and a positive influence. It is no coincidence that we are doing so well this year with Jason around.
“We got away with one at Trent Bridge last week a little bit, but we could not be in a better place now in the four-day stuff.
“We have five big games heading into the second half of the season and if we win all our games we will be in the shape-up.
“Notts look to be a little bit too far ahead for us to chase down. But I think we will be in the hunt.”