Matt Henry: Kent bowler out of County Championship run-in with Navdeep Saini also likely absentee

Matt Henry (centre) has played just two County Championship games for Kent this summer, recording best figures of 5-45 against Lancashire
Matt Henry (centre) has played just two Championship games this summer, with a best of 5-45 against Lancashire

Kent will be without New Zealand seamer Matt Henry for their County Championship run-in, with India paceman Navdeep Saini also likely to be absent.

Henry, currently playing in the one-day series in Australia, will miss Kent’s final two games as the Black Caps manage his return from a rib injury.

Meanwhile, domestic commitments in India are set to impede Saini’s return.

“We are trying to think of some other options but time is ticking,” head coach Matt Walker told BBC Radio Kent.

“As you can imagine, the options overseas at this stage of the season are nigh on impossible.

“When you go into the back end of the season, you want your strongest side possible but unfortunately it is unlikely we are going to have that overseas quality.”

Kent began the current ongoing round of matches sitting seventh in the Division One table, far from safe from relegation with just a 15-point cushion above the bottom two.

They toiled with the ball against Essex on Monday as the visitors racked up 327-4 on the opening day of their third-last game of the season at Canterbury.

To add to their problems, wicketkeeper Sam Billings (groin) and bowler Matt Milnes (back) both picked up injuries that are likely to rule them out for the rest of that match.

Henry and Saini have each made just two Championship appearances this summer, both featuring in Kent’s win at Warwickshire and defeat at Lancashire over the course of a fortnight in July.

Walker had no gripes with Henry’s absence but admitted to a degree of frustration over Saini’s probable unavailability.

“Matt is governed by New Zealand Cricket and has to do the right thing by them, of course,” Walker added.

“We are still hopeful Saini might come but it’s looking less likely as the days go by.

“There are some issues in India with [his] selection for the Duleep Trophy. If you are fighting the powers that be elsewhere, it is always tricky.

“It will be what it will be – whatever we have in the last two games of the season, we’ll have to just grit our teeth and get on with it.”

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