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Mark Pennell at Canterbury
April 28, 2012
Kent 350 for 9 (Nash 132*) lead Yorkshire 247 (Coles 4-70) by 103 runs
Kent's winter recruit Ben Harmison has arrived to put down roots in the garden of England and prove a point to his former paymasters at Durham.
At the age of 26, Harmison needed more cricket than Durham were able to offer so, after making only 40 first-class appearances in six years, a parting of the ways was mutually beneficial. When Kent offered a top-four batting berth and the chance to have a bowl from time to time, Harmison - whose brother Steve is best mates with Kent captain Rob Key - jumped at the chance.
"There are seven new faces at Kent who bring different cultures and personalities and that has all helped to make for a new vibrancy in the dressing room and lift the players who were already here," said Harmison.
"Speaking to the backroom staff, they told me they can already see a difference to the atmosphere about the place and that reflects in performances on the field."
In explaining his departure from Chester-le-Street, Harmison said: "If I'm honest I should probably have left two years earlier than I did. A few people said I should have looked for opportunities earlier, but I was in the team at the time.
"It wasn't really until last year when things really changed because I picked up an injury and wasn't bowling much. All of a sudden I wasn't playing and the writing was on the wall.
"They'd also signed a lot of players on long-term contracts and big money at Durham so the finances were stretched. Personally I worry that the wage bill may end up killing the club, and the fact that they had to make cuts somewhere was certainly a factor in me leaving along with four others.
"For me the move can only be a good thing. I'm having a fresh start down here, I scored two hundreds in pre-season, I'm also fitter and starting to bowl again.
"I know it's a big challenge ahead but I never shy away from challenges and I'm hugely looking forward to making regular contributions. I see myself as a genuine allrounder and hope to get some more overs under my belt soon and then push on for the rest of the season."
Harmison admits other counties were interested in signing him, but Kent's early approach, well before Christmas, convinced him that becoming a Geordie Kentish man was the right move to make.
Not that there was much satisfaction to be had on the third day of Kent's Championship match with Yorkshire at Canterbury. Only 53 balls were possible, with Kent advancing from their overnight total of 316 for 6 to 350 for 9. Kent's West Indies international Brendan Nash consolidated his second-day century and was unbeaten on 132 when the heavens opened at 12.40pm.
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