Kent have moved to secure their leadership ahead of next season by confirming Rob Key as skipper and extending head coach Jimmy Adams’ contract.
Key will lead his home county for a ninth campaign after being described as a “true club captain” by Kent chairman Graham Johnson and the “stand-out” candidate to lead a promising young squad.
Kent did not specify the length of Adams’ new deal, with Johnson saying he was looking forward to “seeing further development delivered in the coming season” under the former West Indies international, who joined in January 2012.
“I am delighted to be re-appointed Kent captain for 2015. It is an honour to lead the club at such an exciting time on and off the field,” Key said.
“The young lads coming through our academy are playing an increasing role and it’s great to see Kentish guys Adam Riley and Sam Billings get England recognition this winter and I hope there’s a few more in contention in our dressing room.”
Johnson was unequivocal in confirming the former England international was the best man for the job, despite Key enduring a tough four-day summer with 561 runs at 22.44.
The veteran was, however, Kent’s leading run-scorer in the NatWest T20 Blast and led the club to the 2007 sprint-format title.
“Rob is a stand-out captain both for Kent and in comparison to his peers at other counties – 2014 has shown the potential of our talented, largely home-grown squad,” he said.
“I know Rob is keen that the potential is developed to a higher level in 2015 and there was unanimity in the decision to ask him to lead that development.
“He captains as a true club captain, is very aware of all aspects of the club and conscious of a rising expectation from all who follow Kent, having seen the possibilities in 2014.”
Kent appoint their captain on a season-by season basis and Key’s re-appointment was endorsed by both the club’s cricket and general committees.
During last summer’s run to the last four of the 50-over competition, Sam Northeast was handed the captaincy duties at times. However, he backed Key to remain in charge when speaking to ecb.co.uk earlier this month.
Adams too is looking forward to working alongside Key, who made his first-class debut in 1998 and is closing in on 20,000 first-class runs.
“I am delighted to sign a new contract and myself and the support staff want to reward the faith the club have shown in us with success over the coming years,” he said.
“We have a good group of players and I am hoping the emerging talent will continue their development alongside a core of experienced players like Rob. His experience as captain will be vital to help us guide the team on and off the pitch.
“I’d like to thank the players and support staff of coaches, physios, analyst and our psychologist for their support over the season.
“Off the pitch, the members and supporters have been great too and their backing is vital to our progress as a team.”
Kent are preparing for a fifth successive season in the second division – they have never spent so long outside the top flight – but Johnson thinks the club are on the right pathway under the long-term ambitions of Adams.
“When Jimmy joined Kent he stated his desire to be ‘in for the long run’ to establish sustainable high-level playing performance at the club,” he said.
“The ground work has been done and now the challenge is to find that extra performance to deliver to rising expectations.
“He has always set high standards based on his considerable cricket experience and we are pleased that he has committed to continue the work he came in to do.
“Continuity is an important factor in delivering over longer periods and having so many players committing to the club says much about the player support they have seen established under Jimmy and the overall environment that has been created.
“Whilst the additional player support brought in over the last season has been an important factor in achieving the improvements to date, the man at the top sets the tone and we look forward to seeing that further development delivered in the coming season.”
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