Kent bowler Milnes praises influence of coach Donald
PUBLISHED: 16:31 18 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:31 18 April 2019
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After recording his first five-wicket return in List A cricket Spitfires winter bowling recruit Matt Milnes took time to praise the influence of Kent's assistant coach Allan Donald - and perhaps, disprove the myth that 'white lightning' can strike twice.
On his Canterbury debut and maiden appearance in the Royal London One-Day Cup against Hampshire on Wednesday the 24-year-old right-armer, who joined the Spitfires from Nottinghamshire during the close season, bagged five for 79 and went home with the match ball.
Though Kent had slipped to a 90-run defeat in their opening South Group fixture, Milnes had every reason to be delighted with his step up from the Nottinghamshire second string to replacing Matt Henry, Kent's phenomenal overseas pro from 2018, in the Spitfires starting XI.
“It's pleasing to start so well and I'd be the first to admit I had a little bit of luck here and there, but it's always nice to get one strangled down leg-side with your first-ball loosener,” Milnes said.
“I stuck to my plans and was happy overall, but there's still room for improvement in my performance at the death and I know that there's plenty to work on moving forward.
“I only ever really played second-team cricket for Notts and felt like I had reached a point where I had to play first-team cricket and learn on the job if needs be.
“There's only so much you can learn in the seconds and the reason I moved to Kent was to have that exposure – I wanted to be 'chucked in' at the deep end.
“Hopefully I can keep swimming, make improvements and help get some wins under our belts.”
And Milnes, who says his integration into the Kent dressing room has been a smooth one, took time to thank Donald – the South Africa paceman dubbed 'White Lighting' during a prolific 72-match Test career – for helping to make his own transition into the Spitfires first team so simple.
“I came here because I was never likely to learn any more playing second-team cricket and in the knowledge that the white-ball side of the game is still new to me, so AD has been a big help already,” Milnes said.
“In pre-season I went out to Paarl, Allan's home town in the Western Cape of South Africa, and worked with him for six weeks during our winter.
“Me and the other Kent lads spent plenty of time with Allan with a lot of our focus on white-ball bowling and trying perfect those new skills.
“I think we all took a lot out of what we produced in practise over in Paarl, we were maybe a bit rusty in this opening one-day cup game, but moving forward I know that there's plenty more to come.”
Summing up the county's start to the summer overall, Milnes added: “As a group we feel we've had a decent start to the season. In the championship we were in a winning position in Taunton until the final day and we then got a great win on the road against Warwickshire and all the lads were buzzing after that.
“We wanted to take that momentum into the 50-over competition, but it wasn't to be. The defeat to Hampshire isn't the end of the world though, after all, they won the competition last season.
“We just have to make sure we pick ourselves up and bounce back against Somerset. We definitely owe them one because we felt we controlled the County Championship game for three of its four days.”
• Kent look set to select from an unchanged 13-man squad for their two Royal London One-Day Cup games over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. Bowlers Grant Stewart, Ivan Thomas and Mitchell Claydon remain on the injury list for tomorrow (Friday's) trip to play Somerset in Taunton.
However, Claydon, Kent's white-ball death-bowling specialist, may be considered for Monday's clash with Sussex Sharks at The New County Ground, Beckenham. Both games start at 11am.
Kent from: Bell-Drummond, Crawley, Renshaw, Kuhn, Blake, Rouse, Stevens, Klaassen, Podmore, Milnes, Qayyum, Dickson, Haggett.
A full list of fixtures for the Royal London One-Day Cup can be found here. Tickets for Kent home matches can be purchased on the county's website via this link http://www.kentcricket.co.uk/tickets-and-shop/.