KSN are proud to support:

Walker disappointed with Spitfires
Walker disappointed with Spitfires

Today we unpack where Kent’s white ball season went wrong with coach Matt Walker in the latest of our exclusive chats.

The 2023 domestic cricket season has been consigned to the record books and for Kent and coach Matt Walker it was a season of struggles with both the red and white ball.

It was also the season that saw the end of an era at Canterbury with the departure of Paul Downton, the end of the Sam Billings’ era of being Club Captain along with the comings and goings of the playing staff. 

We have sat down with Walker for his fullest and frankest interviews since Kent’s Great Escape on the Final Day of the Championship season and after talking to the coach about the red ball season yesterday, today we turn to the focus to the club’s white-ball summer… 

“We found ourselves in the T20 competition in a situation where we had to pretty much win every game that we played after the first four or five,” Walker recalled, “and you know that start still surprises me now!”

“You know that in T20 cricket the margins are tiny and fine and if you do not quite win those moments, you find yourselves losing tight games… and we had a couple of those.”

“We were in control of certain games, but a couple of moments and decisions went against us and all of a sudden you find yourselves on the losing end.” 

“We just couldn’t find the right formula early on!” 

“We sat down and addressed things and did something about it pretty quickly and then in that period of six games we looked like what we are and who we can be.”

“Freddie Klaassen coming back made a big difference – we did not have him from the start which was a great shame. Getting him back in that line up, with that side, we looked like the team we know we can be and after that recovery, we looked like we were going to be able to go through.” 

“We failed to win those last two games – some people look at the catch at the Surrey v Essex game on the last day that could have sent us through before we played at Taunton.”

“But we cannot rely on other sides and had a chance to do it ourselves, but lost to the side that went onto win the whole thing in our last pool match – we gave it a great fight but, in the end…” 

“Thing is that to get out of the South group is always challenging – again this year all four at Finals Day were from the South – we know that we should always be in and around qualification; we were right up there; didn’t quite go our way this year, but there was a lot of positives and we played a lot of good cricket in the Blast, but just failed to get through.” 

“Again, things at the back end went against us with Freddie getting injured, Daniel (Bell Drummond) missing the last couple after a brilliant hundred. And it is the little things that just sum up the whole season really. When we needed a bit of luck to go our way. We did not have it…” 

“There was a lot to be pleased about without the rewards, without getting to the knockout stages, but we know that we’re a good T20 side and we know that we’ve got the makings of that side to be strong for a little while yet.” 

“It was the same in the fifty over competition where again we had a couple of games that we should have won again kills you in the end.”

“The boys fought really hard to defend the Trophy, played some good cricket and went on a run but just could not get past the last hurdle – again both the sides in the Final were in our group – Leicestershire and Hampshire.” 

“It is not all gloom and doom. When you win a couple of trophies back to back, the expectations in the one day competitions is very high, but it takes a heck of a lot of effort to win these trophies – we know it as we’ve done it in the last couple of years; you need things to go your way and play good cricket in crucial moments.”

“We did not have that luck, but there was a lot of good stuff and some really pleasing moments and periods – there were really good individual performances along the way.” 

“We’ve plenty to build on moving forward into 2024 in our white ball cricket.” 

That then is the playing season of 2023 consigned to the history books – join us tomorrow as our season review continues as Matt Walker pays tribute to Paul Downton as he leaves his role as Director of Cricket at Canterbury…