He may only be the tender age of 22, but fast bowler Ben Kitt has certainly done his bit to impress in the Nottinghamshire second team last season in his debut professional campaign. After a winter spent in New Zealand, Kitt is raring to go for the new season.
Kitt signed a two-year deal at Nottinghamshire last September following an impressive spell in the second team and academy in 2016 – taking an impressive 101 wickets. On the dawn of the new season, however, Kitt admits this season he would love to break into the first team, something he has not quite managed yet.
To everyone’s surprise, last season Nottinghamshire were relegated into Division Two of the County Championship – a shock to the club given the talent they have on paper – a reason why Kitt has perhaps not broken into the side as yet. A pace attack of Luke Fletcher, Harry Gurney and internationals Jake Ball and Stuart Broad don’t leave many gaps for second-teamers like Kitt to break in, but it is healthy competition.
With the opening match just two weeks away, Kitt was full of optimism at Trent Bridge on Friday morning as the players faced the media on the club’s annual Press Day.
“I can’t wait, I had a good stint in New Zealand while I was away during the winter,” Kitt said.
“I probably didn’t have the best season that I’d have liked to, but I took seven wickets yesterday so that was nice.”
Kitt was referring to his bowling figures of 7-75 in a convincing win for Nottinghamshire seconds over Loughborough MCCU earlier this week, which is sure to have turned heads of the first team coaching staff.
“I want to get into the first team, play a few games and hopefully cement a spot in that,” Kitt revealed.
“They’re my main aims for the year obviously but I want to play some T20 too which would be nice.
“I’m pretty laid back and don’t really set too many specific goals because so many things can change over the summer and I just want to see how I go.”
Following his impressive season in 2016, the Cornwall-born paceman enjoyed a stint of club cricket in Auckland, New Zealand, before returning recently in the Spring before the Notts squad flew to Barbados for their pre-season tour.
“It was a very good experience, the wickets were a lot different to over here which I didn’t actually expect as much so it took quite a lot of adjustment when I got over there but I learned quite quickly from it”, Kitt said of his time in New Zealand.
“But I think it definitely helped me as a cricketer and I’ve come back feeling good and bowling well so I’m enjoying it.”
Kitt also admitted the positive influence that his fellow seamers have had on his development during his time at Nottinghamshire so far, particularly that of Jake Ball, who Kitt has essentially grown up with through the ranks.
“I’m closer to his age, a couple of years ago I was opening the bowling in the second team with him and now he’s playing for England.”
“To have them around the changing room and around training is perfect because I can talk to them and they can tell me what they think works.”
If Kitt does get his first team chance this season with the red ball, it will be in the second tier of professional cricket following last season’s very disappointing relegation.
Although, the buzz around Trent Bridge is back and Kitt is confident of his club’s chances of getting straight back into Division One.
“Of course I’m confident, we’ve got to be confident at the start of the season,” Kitt said.
“If you look around the squad that we’ve got there is no reason why we can’t compete to go up.”
The Nottinghamshire squad certainly has no shortage of ability as well as experience. There is a blend of the young and the old in the ranks, and Trent Bridge should certainly be a tough place to go in 2017.