Will Kent – playing for keeps…

On 15 June 2014, Exiles keeper-batsman Will Kent scored 70 not out – his fifth Exiles half-century – and in-so-doing picked-up the man-of-the-match award as Exiles completed a 40 run win. The Exiles website caught up with Will for a few words:

Will, very well played! You must’ve been delighted with your second half-century of the season?

Yeah it’s good to record a second this season but I am more pleased we won. I was a bit dirty with myself for not connecting with a few late on and would’ve been more so if we’d lost in the last over.

Have you scored many fifties in your cricketing career – they seem to be coming along pretty regularly in an Exiles shirt at the moment!?

In my last full season back home (1999/2000) I had a bit of breakout season scoring a few, and moving up the grades, but prior to that I was the Australian Andy Wingfield; I lost count of how many times I scored 49. If I’d been in the middle a while and had just got out I’d walk back past the scorer and sarcastically ask “49?”

You’ve moved around the Exiles batting order a lot since you started playing for the club – what role do you prefer? 

I’ve moved around the batting line up my whole illustrious cricketing career so nothing new. I started my career in the lower order but in the last few years of junior cricket I moved up and opened the batting. Then I hit grade cricket and moved back down to seven or eight, only then to move back up to open. I don’t really have a preference but I find I need a lot more mental preparation to open.

What are your favourite shots? You seem a very effective foil to some of your more free-hitting team-mates?

Back foot shots definitely, a good cut or pull; shots you need on Australian pitches. But funnily enough if I’m driving the ball well you know I’m in form. I’ve never been a big hitter, and as much as I try, I don’t think I ever will. When I opened the batting in junior cricket I had a great coach who massively improved my technique and mental approach to a game, but it was a technique designed to minimise risk and to turn the strike over. I guess this helps when the free hitters are in as they push the field back and I can just take a single to get them back on strike and doing their thing.

How have you found your first few seasons with the Exiles? Any players in particular you’ve enjoyed playing in the same side as?

I’ve enjoyed the games with the Exiles; the highs and the lows. I wouldn’t keep coming back if I didn’t. I don’t think I’ve got any particular players I enjoying playing with more than others. I’ve always had a natural lean towards the fast bowlers in a team; a keeper and his “quicks” need to have a good relationship (ala caught Marsh bowled Lillee) but then again I enjoy being in the middle watching a graceful Keith, a free flowing John or a workman like Chris.

You are, of course, now firmly established as first-choice wicket-keeper for the club. Have you always been a keeper? What do you prefer – keeping or batting?

Keeping. I didn’t even have to think about that one. From the first ball of my cricketing career I’ve been a “keeper”. As a kid whilst others practiced batting or bowling I’d be out diving around in the grass practicing my technique and catching. A bit of a lonely existence but I enjoyed it.

Do you have many cricketing aspirations ahead?

I don’t really have any cricket aspirations these days, other than to enjoy it. The thing I’m looking forward to now is introducing James and Florence to cricket. I am hoping they both enjoy the game and that I can help them develop into decent players, although secretly I hope they don’t want to bowl as I can’t really help with that one.

Will many thanks for your time, and good luck in your future Exiles career.