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Walker hits back at Hussain
Walker hits back at Hussain

Kent’s Head coach, Matt Walker, has hit back at Nasser Hussain after the former England captain suggested Zak Crawley needed to leave Canterbury to progress his international career.

After arguably his best international innings of the year in the drawn Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Zak Crawley was effectively told that if he wanted to take his Test career to the next level, he should leave Canterbury.

Former England captain Nasser Hussein last week “suggested” it was in the Kent opener’s best interest to move on – naturally, Kent coach Matt Walker wasn’t impressed…

“I didn’t read the article in question – I just heard them,” he confessed when KSN asked him about the SKY pundit’s comments. “I think it’s frustrating when a man of that stature – Nasser’s reach if you like – would say something like that. He’s got a job and he calls it as he sees it sometimes!”

“I’m not going to criticise his opinion, that’s his opinion – I don’t agree with the opinion!”

“Personally, I think Zak’s done all right so far as his game has come on from academy aged fifteen/sixteen to now playing for England. I think what Zak has done at Kent, and how we’ve helped him at Kent, has got him to where he is now.”

“I don’t know why now he needs to change, and I think Zak’s response was perfect in that he doesn’t want to leave the Club. It was said that he has to play on better wickets week in, week out, but I can tell you for a fact that this is not a Kent problem, it is a countrywide problem.”

“There are a lot of struggles around the country in terms of wickets… I’m not blaming groundsmen as the challenge for them is enormous to keep producing wickets by the amount of cricket that is being played and the weather that we have in this country – it’s as simple as that!”

“All we try and do at Kent is to produce the best wickets possible. The players know that, and we want a fair contest between bat and ball – batters want to score runs and bowlers want pace and carry to work with which will hopefully spin into days three and four.”

“That’s all we try to do and that’s all the groundsman tries to do. Last summer was a nightmare – we had horrendous weather and it didn’t help our numbers as wickets were constantly damp and just weren’t dry enough or didn’t have enough prep time to be exactly what we wanted.”

“But it’s not just at Kent as I know other groundsmen have enormous problems.”

“It frustrates me that I’d assume the comments are related to England players who have got to play at Test Match grounds to keep themselves in a good place and score runs or be able to take wickets or bowl better on better wickets week in, week out, but I think that’s so short sighted these days.”

“The way that the work that other small counties such as we are doing to try and produce England cricketers, I find it a little bit insulting in some ways!”

“But I get the point, but I think that our record in terms of producing good cricketers over the past three or four years has been pretty decent with Billings, Crawley, Denly and then behind it Milnes and Robinson in the Lions, Jordan Cox in the England under nineteens, I think we’ve produced a good number of young international and budding international cricketers, so I do think that the comments were a little mis-guided!”

Picture supplied by Max Flego Photography.