With a World Cup going down during the 2019 Kiwi County Tour, our touring party is a wee bit smaller this year without losing any of the funk that makes the KCT what it is. Lord Jeetz (Jeetan Patel) will skipper Warwickshire again as he continues his journey as one of, if not the best kiwi cricketing export ever and Lord Jeetz is now joined on the KCT bus by his Wellington Firebirds comrade Logan van Beek.
Van Beek has been snapped up by Derbyshire and most importantly, van Beek will be with Derbyshire all winter across all formats. While van Beek has played a fair amount of international cricket for Netherlands, the consistency of cricket that he'll find in the County Championship will be super helpful for the all-rounder.
As a seamer, van Beek will enjoy favourable conditions, although he will still need to suss out how to be effective in such conditions. Somewhat similar to Matt Henry, van Beek could be dangerous in pitching the ball up and then offering a heavy ball when he opts to go shorter, while van Beek also offers value with the bat.
We know what to expect from Patel and the intrigue around his performances with the ball are combined with intrigue around his work as captain with Warwickshire jumping back up to Division One. All we have is uncertainty with van Beek and the impact he can have in Division Two with Derbyshire, which is a lovely combination to have; steady ol' Lord Jeetz and the fresh funk via van Beek.
Matt Quinn will again be with Essex as a local player and hopefully Quinn can fight off injuries to get consistent game time. Quinn made a sneaky return to Aotearoa over the summer to play Super Smash for Auckland Aces and was low key dominant with 11w @ 21.72avg/7.43rpo.
There is no shortage of experience and quality in the Essex squad, with Ryan ten Doeschate the captain, Peter Siddle the overseas trooper and then they also have Alistair Cook and Ravi Bopara. The key for Quinn is game time and he has shown his potential in patches since moving to Essex and this may be the winter in which Quinn breaks free.
Essex play their first game this Friday (Saturday NZT) against Hampshire, while Warwickshire aren't in action until the following week. Van Beek and Derbyshire are also set to start their season this week, at home to Durham, meaning that we will hopefully get Quinn and van Beek in action in the first round.
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Peace and love 27.