Kent have lost two of their senior batsmen after Martin van Jarsveeld announced his departure to Leicestershire and Joe Denly signed for Middlesex, while director of cricket Paul Farbrace is also leaving the club.
Denly, who has played nine one-day internationals and five Twenty20s for England, has taken a two-year deal with Middlesex as he looks to revive a career that has stalled since losing his England place prior to the World Twenty20 in 2010. He came through the Kent youth system, made his debut in 2005 and has scored nearly 5000 first-class runs
He struggled for much of the 2011 season, but finished the summer strongly with a career-best 199 against Derbyshire in the penultimate Championship match and also scored a Twenty20 hundred against the Indians at Canterbury.
"A large part of me is very sad to be leaving Kent," Denly said. "As a local lad who's come through the system I expected to play my whole career here. This is an important stage of my career, however, and I'm really excited about the move to Middlesex, who are a club on the up as shown by their recent promotion to Division One of the Championship.
"I'm committed to becoming the best player I can possibly be and firmly believe that the environment at Middlesex will help me achieve that and one day resurrect my prospects at international level. I'd like to thank everyone at Kent, particularly my captain Rob Key, for the support I've received over the last eight years - and who knows what the future holds, I'd certainly never rule out a return to the club one day."
The loss of van Jaarsveld, meanwhile, leaves another huge hole for cash-strapped Kent to fill before the 2012 season after he was released with one year remaining on his contract. He has played for Kent since 2005 and been a consistent scorer with more than 8000 first-class runs, although his returns in 2011 were down with 755 Championship runs at 30.20 and no hundreds.
In previous years van Jaarsveld had been linked with moves to Division One, but joining Leicestershire sees him given the role of reviving the four-day fortunes of the side that finished bottom of Division Two by a huge margin.
"I would like to thank everyone at Kent for the opportunity I have been given," he said. "I have poured everything I have had into trying to score runs and win games for the county during this time, but now it is time for a new challenge which I hope will reignite my passion for the game and allow me to recapture my best form."
Graham Johnson, the Kent chairman of cricket, said they had tried hard to keep both players. "We are sad to see both players leave the club. They have contributed a great deal both on and off the field."
"Martin approached the Club at the end of the season with a desire to be released from contract and after much consideration the club decided to agree to that request. Joe developed through the Kent system, indeed he was the first 'product' of the Kent Cricket Academy. The Club had hoped to keep him, but he decided it was time for a fresh challenge."
Kent face a difficult off-season of rebuilding after Farbrace also stepped down as the club's director of cricket. He returned to Kent in 2009 having been Sri Lanka's assistant coach - where he was caught up in the Lahore attack on the team bus - and had previously worked for the county as academy director.
Kent had another tough season in 2011 as they finished eighth in Division Two of the County Championship, didn't qualify for the knockout stage of the CB40 and fell at the quarter-final stage of the Friends Life t20 despite scoring 203 against Leicestershire.
"It has been a privilege to be director of cricket," Farbrace said. I have enjoyed working with the group of players and wish them well. I am now looking forward to the future and I will always have good memories of my time at Kent."
The chairman of Kent, George Kennedy, added: "I thank Paul for all of his hard work for the club. I am personally extremely sorry to see him leave, and wish him well as he moves on. It has been a challenging period for the Club and Paul has worked with great commitment to deliver results."