KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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Leeds/Bradford MCC University (MCCU) batsman Alex Blake is delighted to have sealed a new three-year deal with Kent after a breakthrough season in 2010.
Blake, a third year Sport, Leisure and Culture student at Leeds Metropolitan University, will be at the Canterbury based county until the end of the 2013 season.
The 22-year-old made an unbeaten 105 against Yorkshire at Headingley in the last LV County Championship fixture of 2010.
It capped an excellent second half of the season for the left-hander, who finished the year with six successive first-class appearances.
Blake made his Kent debut back in 2007 and has benefited from a positive policy towards young players as he looks to establish himself as a regular.
He said: "Kent are putting a lot of faith in youth and are going to give young players a go.
"I’m obviously delighted to sign the deal and I’m looking forward to getting into pre-season and seeing where things go.
"I’m looking to establish myself in the one day team and then push on for a place in the first-class side but we have a strong middle-order at Kent so it will be tough.
"I had a run towards the end of last year - it is a privilege to play county cricket for Kent.
"The century against Yorkshire was great because it proved to other people and also to myself that I could cut it at that level."
Lords.org identified Blake as an MCCU 'one to watch', during his first year of studying back in 2009.
He is now close to completing his degree and was enthusiastic about the opportunity the MCCU scheme had allowed him.
"It’s been a good scheme here at Leeds." Blake added.
"I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here both on and away from the cricket field. It’s nice to know that I will have a degree to fall back on if things don’t go to plan.
Andrew Lawson, Blake’s coach at Leeds/Bradford, described the youngster as the benchmark for the rest of his squad.
Lawson said: "We’re really pleased for him. He’s worked hard over the last year and I know they think a lot of him at Kent because he’s been given a three year deal.
"I like to think that we’ve been part of his journey and that being part of things at Leeds/Bradford has helped him move on to a higher level.
"The century he got against Yorkshire showed the potential he has at the top level and I’m confident he will be in the side from the start of next season.
"He’s a talent and I hope that this is the start of a long career, not just three years for Alex.
"Our goal is to get players into the county set-up - that’s the idea. I’m confident that one or two will follow on in his footsteps. He’s the benchmark for the entire squad."