Walker admits Stevens could play T20s
Walker admits Stevens could play T20s

Following his heroics with the bat against Glamorgan last week, speculation is growing that Darren Stevens could earn a call up to Kent’s Vitality Blast campaign that begins next Wednesday against Hampshire and Matt Walker admits he is in the reckoning to play.

Ahead of this week’s County Championship game at the Spitfire Ground against Northamptonshire, KSN has been speaking to coach Matt Walker and the “will he/won’t he?” question was explored.

“The reason that Darren hasn’t played in our T20 teams in the last three years or so,” Walker told us, “is that we haven’t felt that he got in our best side. And I know that sometimes for the members who have seen him for such a long time now that he “walks on water” with them!”

“When he’s not in our T20 side they don’t understand that, but the game has moved on very quickly. His runs had dried up and with the white ball it’s a different game now – if anything it’s harder now for someone who bowls at his pace with the mystery and expertise, but the truth is now the form that Darren is in now with the bat, he absolutely comes into the reckoning!”

“It’s never been an age thing – we just felt that better players were the younger players in this format with more dynamic games in scoring runs consistently. So, you could say that he’s changed everything as you can’t ignore someone who’s just smashed fifteen sixes that that isn’t going to be helpful to a T20 side. So yes, it does change our thinking and he certainly is now in the reckoning that’s for sure…”

“This is the thing when he’s on song like he was against Glamorgan and things all click into place and the stars align, he can do things like that. We saw it a couple of years ago against Yorkshire at Headingley – and further back over the course of time, he’ll have played other innings as well – this one was really incredible after saying all that, especially when you think from where we were to where we ended up, it was an extraordinary turn round and gave us a chance to win the game before the rain had the final say.”

“The freedom, the power, the skill to do that and play an innings like that was remarkable! It was just a pleasure to be there to see it and to have people in the crowd to see it too – it was very special and importantly I think that it reinforces all the hard work that he’s done on his batting to this point.”

“We’ve had a lot of discussions with Darren around his batting over the past three or four years – he knows that the runs have dried up a little bit for him. It’s not that we’re expecting him to be batting like he did at 25 or 35, but we all felt that wanted runs in that all-rounder spot and by his own admission it was clear that the runs became fewer and fewer.”

“But last season and over the winter – even at his stage of his career – he’s worked really hard on his batting and that is so great when a player of his age and experience embraces that he can still get better and still can improve.”

“I know that it means a lot to him to score runs as everyone “expects” what he does with the ball, but now that level up again with his batting has really turned his game up another few notches.”