Jones promotes Adams cause
Geraint Jones has hailed head coach Jimmy Adams’ impact and backed the West Indian to steer Kent back to the LV= County Championship top flight.
Adams made the move to Canterbury in the winter, taking over a side that finished second bottom in Division Two last season and lost key batsmen Joe Denly, who signed for Middlesex, and Martin van Jaarsveld.
Yet Adams, with assistance from new recruits Mark Davies, Charlie Shreck, Mike Powell and overseas addition Brendan Nash, has helped turn Kent’s fortunes around.
They are now well placed, third in the second tier of the championship with a game in hand, and harbour realistic hopes of returning to Division One.
“I’ve very much enjoyed the new regime,” Jones told ecb.co.uk. “In fairness to Farby (Paul Farbrace), it was a tough time for him to coach because there were a lot of financial issues at the time.
“They have been overcome now and Jimmy has come in at a fresh time. What he has done is recognised the club needed some more senior players in key areas.
“He has recruited really well in bringing in Mark Davies, Charlie Shreck and Mike Powell; each of those guys have made big contributions. That little bit of seniority has been the biggest difference I think.
“With Jimmy, he is disciplined and has simplified things. The bowlers have bowled one line and the length differs depending on the batsmen.
“As batsmen, we now value our wicket like nothing else and our preparation is key to that. In practice, he drums home the fact that good decisions in the nets transfer out to the middle.
“He keeps it simple, but keeps reminding us. That’s from his international experience; he has played so much cricket and worked out that if you do the basics right, things start to work your way.”
Kent, who drew with South Africa at the weekend, resume their promotion tilt tomorrow versus Glamorgan at Canterbury following a break for the Friends Life t20.
Promotion is something, according to Jones, the members will be demanding, especially given Kent’s status as one of the archetypal top-flight sides.
“With Kent and their traditions, we want to be playing in the first division - that’s our big goal for the summer,” he said. “We have set that up nicely in the first half of the season and need to carry it on.
“With this group of players, we want to be tested in that first division. The Kent hierarchy want us in there and I am sure it was mentioned to Jimmy quite strongly when he came in.”
It is perhaps a mark of Kent’s fine start in four-day cricket that Jones has had just eight knocks in as many first-class encounters so far this season.
However, the former England wicketkeeper has still managed 256 runs at an average of 46.
Those are figures that satisfy Jones, whose preparations for this campaign were different to those of his team-mates.
The 35-year-old partook in the World Twenty20 qualifier for Papua New Guinea - an experience that, despite being completely different to his England days, was just as - if not more - enjoyable.
“I loved it,” enthused Jones. “It was a completely different environment. I went as a player and ended up doing a player/assistant coach sort of role.
“I enjoyed that aspect of it, but what the PNG boys reinforced was the enjoyment side of things and the pride and passion for playing international cricket.
“They enjoyed things. They are quite musical people so the bus trips to and from the games were fun - there was loads of singing and dancing!
“It was a great pre-season for me to revitalise things and actually playing tough, competitive cricket rather than going through the usual nets.
“I really enjoyed the experience and it’s something I would love to do again.”