Joe Denly has re-signed for boyhood club Kent, just three years after leaving the Garden of England county to join Middlesex.
The opening batsman moved to Lord’s in 2011 to pursue an international career courtesy of playing Division One cricket. But now the 28-year-old will return to Canterbury, having cut short his previous contract with Middlesex by one year. In addition to recapturing the right-hander, Kent have also extended the deals of West Indian Test cricketer Brendan Nash and coach Jimmy Adams.
Denly made his first-class debut for Kent in April 2004, shortly after his 18th birthday. He went on to score 4,658 runs in the County Championship and more than 2,000 List A runs over the next seven years.
The Canterbury-born batsman was part of the Spitfires’ squad that lifted the T20 cup in 2007 and was the tournament’s leading scorer as Kent finished as runners-up the following year.
His form in limited-overs cricket resulted in him being called up to England squad for both 50-over and T20 formats.
The right-hander made his international debut against Ireland in August 2009 where he scored 67. He followed that up with another half-century against Australia at Chester-le-Street just a month later.
In all, he played nine ODI matches and five T20s for England, but won his last international cap in February 2010.
Since then he has been looking to return to the world stage, although he has been unsuccessful thus far.
It was aspirations of playing for England once more that fueled his move to Middlesex at the culmination of the 2011 season. By moving to a club in Division One of the County Championship, Denly felt that he could make more of a case for international inclusion.
However, things never really clicked in North London as Denly only scored two centuries in the three years that he spent with the Lord’s-based county.
And now he will look to revive his cricket career where it all began – at the St Lawrence Ground.
He comes back to a club that reached the semi-finals of the inaugural Royal London One-Day Cup this summer, but is still lurking in Division Two of the County Championship.
Kent – who are still captained by Rob Key – have changed a lot of personnel since the departure of Denly. But the England hopeful will definitely get the chance to work with Jimmy Adams, after it was announced that the head coach would be extending his tenure at the club.
Meanwhile Brendan Nash will play his fourth season at Canterbury next year after also negotiating a new deal.