Walkers believes Kent in safe hands
Walkers believes Kent in safe hands

Head Coach Matt Walker believes Kent Cricket are in safe hands ahead of the new season despite not being there himself to oversee it.

The countdown for the return of County cricket is underway as Saturday 1st August has been confirmed as the start date for the much-delayed domestic season.

An intra-squad game begins today at Canterbury with a two day warm-up game against Essex planned for Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th July.

The Kent players reported back to the St Lawrence ground for their preparations under the watchful eyes of the coaching staff as the opening day really does now begin to loom large. With the seeming success of the return of topflight football, it was inevitable that the go ahead for our summer sport would eventually be given.

The final confirmed schedule is due to be announced in the coming days, and we’ve been talking to Kent head coach Matt Walker about his excitement to finally get the go ahead, even though Walker himself is currently involved with the national side…

He told us, “I will be with the England camp until the end of the series, but the boys are back at Canterbury in full training in very good hands.”

“Simon Cook has been looking after everything, and the great thing about where we are now is that we’ve got a support staff that can manage these situations. Mike Yardy has joined us now full time, we’ve got Mark Dekker the second team coach and Min Patel – we’ll bring in some support – we’ve got the resource to make it work.”

“It’s going to be difficult, but Cookie has done a great job trying to put a plan together to make it work for twenty players to get through a week of prep along with some inclement weather as going indoors is really out of bounds still at the moment.”

“The players have to make sure that they get the best out of the next few weeks so that when we come to the first games in August, there’s a real calmness and strength around going into the start of the season feeling how they’d like to feel.”

“Hopefully they’ll come out absolutely raring to go – it’s going to be a test but I think that our players are well tuned now to be able to make sure that they do get what they need out of the next few weeks!”

With regards to what actual cricket the county will face and for how long is still to be confirmed. “I think that this season has pretty much been blown out of the river – it won’t be a normal season,” admitted Walker.

“We still don’t know who much T20 cricket there will be, but in terms of championship four-day cricket, let’s give a regionalised competition a crack – why not? We’ve got nothing to lose!”

He went on, “it’s not going to be a normal season with promotion and relegation, so why not make it as competitive as you want with a Final so there’s something on it at least.”

“Further down the line it doesn’t have to be regionalised, but who knows if it goes down well – it makes complete sense this year and let’s see how it works!”

“It’s an opportunity – a “free-hit” in some ways – to try something a little bit different; it may not work but with the time that we have there’s probably only time for four or five Championship games.”

“As long as it’s competitive, which is important, as I don’t think people will want to play four-day friendlies really then it could just become an extended pre-season.”

“So let’s see what the decision makers come up with and see what happens – four day cricket does present some risks of course especially if it’s first up with injuries after so much inactivity, but I think everyone will just be glad to play and we’ll have to make sure that we manage things like that.”