Walker offers hope to players
Walker offers hope to players

Kent coach Matt Walker has been talking to KSN about how his squad has and will survive Lockdown, and the coach had special words for those for who 2020 would have been the final year of their current contracts.

“Any player that is in the last year of his contract, its blooming awful!” Walker told KSN.

He continued, “I feel for those guys desperately and there’s going to be many of those players around the country! In the last year of a contract, you want to play – you want to (a) get into the team if you’re not in the team and then (b) you want to put in enough performances to warrant another contract.”

“Unfortunately, this year, no-one has had the opportunity to do that – it puts you in a very difficult position in terms of who you recruit.”

“You know that money is going to change somewhat I suspect and how we go about that is not for me to say now, but it’s been tough on those guys – more than any player they’ve had it the hardest and the most frustrating and they’ve dealt with it brilliantly I have to say.”

“The guys have cracked on and are working hard on their fitness – they’re trying to deal with that pressure or that stress; they’re dealing with it very well!”

“I suppose it’s out of their control as they can’t affect it and just hope that there is some sort of cricket, hope that they can get out there and show what they can do in some way and leave it up to us to make those decisions.”

The Kent coach then reflected if the current situation had happened twelve months earlier, it was possible that the county would have lost one of its’ most popular current stars – Darren Stevens.

“What can you say about Stevo for the last quarter of last season?” Walker asked.

“Did it surprise you? Probably not!” he joked and then admitted: “Let’s face it, he does it all the time! You write him off and we hadn’t offered him a contract up to that point before he put in that incredible last quarter of the summer that changed our minds.”

“I’ve said before that that’s fine – we made the initial decision and I stand by that decision in June, and I think Darren stands by it too!”

“As disappointing as it was, he certainly turned it around and he made it impossible for us not to offer him something by the end of the season because his performances were extraordinary.”

“Darren’s another year older next year as we all are, but I know how desperate he still is to play with an ambition to carry on for probably another two or three years.”

“We’ll sit down at some stage when everything gets a bit clearer and sort out those decisions nearer the time.”

Thinking of others in the final year of their current contract, Walker went on and said, “It’s so difficult because what we would have done with these guys is normally have these conversations in April – which we did – and usually about now then talk terms to them being out of contract at the end of the season, and if they’re not doing it performance wise judge where we’re at.”

“It gets to July and the conversations continue – it’s so difficult as things have changed completely this season; it’s unusual and unprecedented times!”

Walker then turned his attention to what, if any cricket will be played in Canterbury this summer.

“People will disagree especially if you love your four day cricket – and we all love four day cricket – and value it so highly,” Walker said, “but I think that the logistics of putting four day cricket on are more challenging with obviously hotels and the cost of putting four day cricket on makes the financial side of it pretty pressing and there are clubs who have found that they’ve lost a lot of money.”

“So to run a Championship block of cricket is going to cost a lot of money and presents more challenges than a one day competition where you’re just travelling to the game on the day and coming home is less expensive to put on and logistically easier to put on.”

“So from that side of things and the entertainment point of view, I’d hope that SKY would probably televise that competition – they won’t televise the longer game I would have thought, though I’m not putting ideas in their heads, they’ll probably prefer to televise the T20 game; that’s just my observation!”

“It also does kind of make sense to focus on T20 especially with the World Cup coming up at the end of our season potentially and so it does all kind of add up really that that’s probably the right decision in this instance.”

“It’ll be something – I know it’s going to be strange with no-one watching it because playing cricket in front of no-one is tough enough, but playing T20 in front of nobody is going to be extremely bizarre as the crowd does play such a massive part and creates the atmosphere, the razzamatazz that we all love in T20 and the energy that it creates – that will be a challenge for sure!”

“Again, it’s just another thing that we’re going to have to deal with and I think people would rather play cricket in front of nobody than play no cricket at all!”

“Hopefully it will be televised – we do stream it now of course which is something so I think people will be grateful for something and with everything else in mind, I think that T20 in this instance will probably be the thing that the ECB will push forward first I suspect!”