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County Championship: Heino Kuhn looking forward to making an impact with Kent

PUBLISHED: 09:45 11 April 2018

Heino Kuhn has signed for Kent as a Kolpak player (pic: Adam Davy/PA)

Heino Kuhn has signed for Kent as a Kolpak player (pic: Adam Davy/PA)

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South African has signed for Kent as a Kolpak player

Only three days after landing in England to become Kent’s latest Kolpak signing, Heino Kuhn went on to mark his arrival with an unbeaten century against Surrey — and announce that he is planning a career in county cricket for the long haul.

Last Friday, the 34-year-old right-hander from the Transvaal hit an unbeaten 105 and featured in an unbroken third-wicket stand worth 217 with Kent rookie Zak Crawley that ensured the hosts dominated their two-day pre-season friendly with Surrey.

Fresh from a double-winning domestic campaign with Titans, his South Africa franchise, Kuhn — in his first knock for Kent — struck 19 fours in a chanceless 120-ball stay before retiring unbeaten in tandem with 20-year-old Crawley.

It would be hard to imagine a better way to prepare for the start of the serious business, when the county face Gloucestershire in their opening Specsavers County Championship fixture on Friday (11am start).

“I’d contacted some of the Kent guys on social media from South Africa to say that I’d be coming soon and that I’d bring some sunshine and hopefully a few runs,” said Kuhn, who has four Test caps.

“So I’m happy about my start and how I’ve settled in nice and quickly.

“Wherever I bat I try not to overthink the process. For me it’s just a case of watching the ball and playing each delivery as it comes. There were some lucky shots today, but I’m happy that I contributed with three figures.

“That’s two hundreds in a row for me at Canterbury, I scored a ton here for South Africa A against England Lions here last June, so I hope that form will continue.”

Kuhn and Crawley came together with their side in trouble on 8-2, but combined to gradually wrestle the game’s impetus from Surrey hands.

“We had to consolidate first up and it was really nice to spend time out there with Zak,” said Kuhn. “If anything, Zak batted the better of us at the start and that really took the pressure off me. He got off to a flyer, so it was my job then to get in and be there for him.

“After I got to 50, I played more expansively and really got into my game, but I felt we complimented each other really nicely.”

Kuhn joins a long and illustrious list of South Africans to have turned out for Kent in recent seasons that includes Morne Morkel, Martin van Jaarsveld, Ryan McLaren, Andrew Hall, Tyron Henderson, Daryll Cullinan, Justin Kemp, Makhaya Ntini, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Wayne Parnell and Hardus Viljoen.

Having now called time on his 11-match international career, Kuhn added: “I’m 34 and with the management of the Proteas indicating that they are now going to look past me in terms of selection, it became the right decision for me to challenge myself by joining Kent.

“All the same, it was a tough decision, but I’m starting a new chapter of my life here now and my intention is to ply my trade for Kent for as long as possible.”

To that end, Kuhn and his wife, Trudie, have set up home in a luxury apartment barely 100 yards from the ground where Mrs Kuhn intends to continue running her own vehicle tracking software business from home.

Kuhn added: “We’ve settled in really quickly and have been made to feel so welcome. Now it’s down to me to do my job out in the middle to the best of my ability.

“I’m a big one for bringing my character to the dressing room and I really like to be around other guys who have a hunger to be there too. It appears to me already, that the Kent guys fit the bill. There’s a lot of talent here but also a real hunger to play well as a team.

“I reckon that there are only good things ahead for Kent and I’m delighted to bring my experience to the side and help the rest of the Kent lads to play a similar winning brand to that of the Titans. These are exciting times.”

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