Walker expecting big things from Kent
Walker expecting big things from Kent

As the start of his twenty-eighth season as a player and now coach dawns, Matt Walker has been looking forward to the start of another cricketing summer as Kent travel to face Northamptonshire.

On the eve of the new season, the Kent coach has been talking to KSN and admitted he can’t wait for the talking to stop and the action to start.

“It’s the eve of the first Championship game and it’s an exciting time of year,” Walker said.

“All the hard work; all the long hours in the winter and the indoor school; all the sacrifices and dedication people have put in to get better, and it now comes to competition time and the most exciting part of the season.”

“I’m looking forward to it – I’m quietly confident; I know that the group are, and we’ve prepared as well as we could have done and I think that it’s over to the players now, and I’m looking forward to seeing them put all the hard work over “the white line” into some competition and seeing what we can do!”

“In some ways it’s business as usual although there are still some protocols hanging over us and no crowds which is a shame, but I think it feels like we’re starting something that looks like a pretty “normal” season!”

“Last year was a weird year for everyone not really knowing what was going on – it wasn’t a “non-season” as a lot of good things came out of it, but we’re back this year with a full schedule ahead of us albeit with the structure a little different. That said, it feels normal,” the coach said. “the start of a real year and I think that we’re all glad that we’ve got a full summer ahead of us which starts with a pretty hefty Championship block and it’ll be good to get ourselves going as quick as we can.”

“Hopefully, we’ll start well and be able to push on early on to get ourselves in a good position.”

Walker has named a near full strength squad for the trip to Wantage Road, with the exceptions of missing skipper Sam Billings – who is still in India for the IPL – and the unlucky Heino Kuhn, who as Walker told us, misses the start of the campaign due to injury.

“He pulled a calf muscle a couple of days ago, which hasn’t healed and unfortunately at the moment we don’t know the length of it. Hopefully, it will be a short-term thing.”

“Really frustrating times for Heino especially when you remember that he had a tough time getting back into the country and the isolation that he had to go through and did look in good touch with the practice game.”

“It’s a bit of a blow for him and for us but these things happen, but Grant Stewart comes in on the back of a hundred against Worcestershire and he’s bang in form.”

“I always seem to be talking to you about having depth of squad and having people being able to come in, it happened in the first game! We’re confident with the squad that we’ve got and it’s just a shame that Heino isn’t with us in Northampton this week.”

Walker then finished with some good news from India about the improving fitness of his skipper.

“I’ve spoken to Sam (Billings) this week,” he said, “and he’s been hitting balls, he’s feeling stronger and is back in proper practice and is getting stronger! He’s really on the mend now and is really looking forward to the start of the IPL this weekend – he’s in a much better place which is good for everyone!”

Picture supplied by Max Flego Photography.