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Walker saddened by Iggy passing
Walker saddened by Iggy passing

The Kent cricketing community was left reeling last week following the death of Alan Igglesden, and in tribute KSN have been talking to the players who knew “Iggy” – we’ve been talking to current Kent coach Matt Walker.

“It’s extremely sad news,” the Kent coach told us. “I heard whilst away on holiday and although we all know Iggy hasn’t been in a great place since his two strokes it still comes a shock.”

“It’s heart breaking for his family and friends and at just 57 years old it’s so cruel that we’ve lost such a wonderful person so young.”

“I suppose I feel like everybody else who knew him well. Angry and extremely sad. He fought his illness so hard like the champion he is, and he really didn’t deserve the hand that he was dealt.”

Looking back to his own first meeting with Igglesden, Walker recalled, “In the early 90’s when I joined the staff, the dressing room was a very different place to what it is now. As a young player you just keep quiet and kept your head down and got on with it.”

“You weren’t really coached, and you weren’t going to get much help from the senior players. It was just the way it was. There were a few exceptions though and Iggy was one. He was kind and he cared. He took time out to make sure I was ok and gave me advice and just made me feel like I belonged in that squad.”

“The years I spent with Iggy on the staff were his last five years as a player. There were a few more injuries for him to deal with, but he was always positive and always had a smile on his face. I will be so grateful for him for the way he was with me in my early years.”

Igglesden “only” played four times for England something that many – including Walker – still can’t quite believe. He said, “I can’t really remember what was going on with England back in the late 80’s/early 90’s, but as we know, their selection policy was questionable at best.”

“All I know was that Iggy was a tremendous county bowler with incredible attributes. Having made his debut in ‘89, he was England A’s best bowler on the Zimbabwe tour of 89/90 but never really got a look in with the senior squad until 4 years later.”

“Injuries probably didn’t help him, but I always thought that the type of bowler Iggy was, he could have and probably should have had a long and successful international career.”

“Off the field he was a joy to be around. When I broke into the 1st team, that’s when I really got to know Iggy off the field. He was extremely funny with such a quick wit.”

“He was kind and always very good to my family. He was such fun to share a beer with and equally great to just chat things through about the day’s play.”

“As the years went on after his career finished, we stayed friends and although I saw him less and less, whenever we caught up it was always as if we were back in the dressing room having a laugh as normal.”

We asked the coach if he’d liked to have coached Igglesden, and Walker gleefully admitted, “You’d always want an Alan Igglesden in your squad. As a cricketer and as a bloke.”

“The culture we have in our dressing room now is very different to back then and it’s much more a ‘team first’ environment with everyone looking for and helping each other. Iggy would’ve fitted in perfectly!”

So, Walker’s enduring memory of his friend and team-mate? “My abiding memory of Iggy is of him sat in the corner of the dressing after a day’s play. Boots off, beer in hand with a huge smile on his face…”