Eyes on the prize: record-chasing Kuhn focused on One-Day Cup win

Eyes on the prize: record-chasing Kuhn focused on One-Day Cup win

Heino Kuhn saw Kent to the final with a century. Pic via YouTube.

 

To anyone who plays professional sport, the prospect of a record is often exciting. Some may question the necessity for such number-crunching, but others acknowledge as essential to establishing quality.

“I’m definitely not a stats guy,” Heino Kuhn says on a scorching hot lunchtime at the St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury, his adopted home for this and next summer. “I only get aware of them when people tell me but if I get told there’s a good stat on the way then I do want to get it.”

A few hours later he was caught driving for just 11 — not an ideal statistic. But with the Royal London One-Day Cup final against Hampshire coming on Saturday, he does have a more favourable one looming.

His 127 in Kent’s semi-final victory over Worcestershire made him the first man to score four centuries in five English domestic List A innings. Only five other players have achieved it anywhere in the world; just one, Alviro Petersen, has scored five hundreds in six.

Kuhn may want the record but, to his credit, he isn’t letting it steal his focus. “I’m just here to win trophies. If that is to, at some stage, when you’re on 90-odd and you need to go and slog a couple and not play for a hundred, then I’m happy to do it as long as I get the team to a better position.

“It’s a very good feeling to be in form like that, and it’s definitely something that you don’t take for granted. You enjoy every run because it can so quickly just disappear, so I’m very happy with it and come Saturday I’m just going to keep on doing what I’ve been doing.”

It’s hardly surprising for a man with his trophy cabinet. His South African side, Titans, have won nine white-ball trophies since he has been there, Kuhn having played in five of those finals; he was also heavily involved in Northerns’ campaign for a one-day and three-day cricket double in 2005-06.

With Kent having not made either domestic final for ten years, Kuhn adds some much needed experience. In the team that beat Worcestershire, only three other players have played in a total of 13 finals; Darren Stevens, at 42, makes up seven of those.

“It’s easy to say that it’s just another game but I tell them to soak it up as quickly as possible. Get there early, go on the pitch, soak all of the attention up, and then as soon as the game starts soak it up a little bit more.

“It happens so quickly and you must just go out there and do what you’ve been doing to get yourself there. I always play for trophies so hopefully we can, come Saturday, get one of my goals done which is winning a trophy and that’ll be a good start.”

Kuhn has proven to be an inspired signing with his white-ball form. Poached as a Kolpak in March, he joined the county after playing all four Tests in England last summer. Barring a sudden change of heart, those will be the 34-year-old’s only appearances — although that seems unlikely.

“I’m happy with the decision I’ve made and it’s always nice when you make the decision and it actually works out as it is now. I’m very happy playing here and I’ve got absolutely no regrets.

“Canterbury is such a beautiful place with so much history and I just feel at home here. I feel like I’ve been here for years, and I do intend to stay here for a long time.”

On Saturday, however, he will go back to the scene of his debut Test. He will be hoping for a better performance this time around having scored just one and nine last July. And South Africa lost, to boot. But Kuhn remains thrilled to be returning to Lord’s.

“It’s such an amazing ground with so much history, and I think it’s anyone’s dream to play a final there. I know that a lot of the guys are so excited and so am I. We just can’t wait to get on the park and start that game.

“Making a debut for your country is a massive thing but also to be in a final your first season at a county, at Lord’s, is a great feeling so I think it’s going to be very similar to that morning when I made my debut.”

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