Haggett enjoyed his time with Kent
Haggett enjoyed his time with Kent

Departing Kent all-rounder Calum Haggett has admitted “it was not a shock” to be let go by the club after seven years of service.

The 29-year-old made 119 appearances for the county, scoring 1412 runs and taking 171 wickets, but has now been released following the expiry of his contract at the end of the 2020 season. And, speaking exclusively to Kent Sports News, Haggett said his exit didn’t come as a surprise.

“I completely got why I had to go” he said. “But I thoroughly enjoyed it and I will miss it, miss being around that team environment and going into work every day and doing something I love.

“It is not easy for any club at the moment, and, after not being available for most of last year, the writing was almost on the wall as it got worse and worse in terms of the pandemic. It was not a shock. Even if you are expecting it, you are still a little bit disappointed.”

Haggett had struggled with injuries recently but also with form, finding appearances a rarity. He played just three times for Kent during 2020, all in the T20 Blast, and found it hard to find any form of consistency.

“For me personally, I would have liked to have done more. But I guess quite a lot of sportsmen would say that” he said. “I felt I was always trying to do more, but I just could not quite make it happen.

“I have mixed emotions really – on the one hand I enjoyed my experience and I know I gave 100%, but what I wanted to achieve in my head I did not achieve, for whatever reason, such as injury, and simply not being good enough – there comes a point where you cannot do what you want to do no matter how hard you try.

“Getting to a Lord’s final is an achievement, but on that day [the One Day Cup final in 2018] I bowled a heap of junk and it was a day I would rather forget. But I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Kent – meeting people, I bought a house – I do love it and did not want to leave.”

Haggett also admitted this year’s shortened domestic season had an impact on him and his performances, but that he understands why he rarely featured, and he takes full responsibility for Kent’s decision to let him go.

He said: “I knew I had to do something exceptional on a personal level to get a contract. Playing no games before the Blast was tough, and I only played three T20s which were not great. When you have already been told that your time is probably up it is tough to keep going.

“Having no second-team cricket had an impact leading up to the Blast. There is nothing like match practice and I was not involved in any of the four-day stuff. I was a bit rusty, and I think it showed. In a perfect world it would have been nice to have a couple of games, but that is something you have got to get on with.

“It is a shame, because I wanted to do well, but, once it does not go to plan initially, confidence starts to dip a little bit and you get dropped and then the motivation starts to go. It was hard because it was the first time ever that I did not have a goal, and I knew it was over.

“I had an opportunity to get a contract and I did not quite take it. The lads did pretty well without me, so it was not as if I was moaning about that, it was just a shame on a personal level that I could not quite get it right.”

Rumours have circulated around social media that Haggett will be retiring from the game altogether, and he has admitted his time has probably come.

“If something had come up, I probably would have jumped at it because it would mean playing cricket for another year and in these times a job is a job” he said. “But I think I have had my chance and it is now onto the next thing in life, whatever that may be.

“I have a bit of time to think about it. I will look at taking a couple of courses and I have been doing a bit of coaching over the last year or so with the academy. Hopefully, I can touch base a couple of times there, but it is a bit up in the air.”

And, despite being released, Haggett said he expects plenty of success at Kent in the future.

“I think the future is very bright for Kent” he said.

“They had a decent amount of England players this year and I would not be surprised if in the next couple of years there were more. There are a couple of good youngsters in [Jordan] Cox, Ollie Rob [Ollie Robinson], Milnesey [Matt Milnes] and Podders [Harry Podmore]. And someone like [Daniel] Bell-Drummond who has scored that weight of runs.

“You never know – someone might push their way in somewhere along the line; I do not know if they [England] are taking any notice or not but, the club is in a good place and are looking strong for sure.”