Matt Walker was appointed Kent Cricket’s new head coach with Allan Donald as his assistant in January 2017.
The Gravesend-born coach has also worked with Essex and England Lions and served for three years as assistant coach to Jimmy Adams, who stepped down in 2016.
Walker said: “’Having grown up as a Kent player and played 16 seasons for this great county, I am extremely honoured and proud to be offered the Head Coach role.
“We have an exciting and talented squad that I believe is capable of challenging across all three formats.
“I am relishing this opportunity and hope will work with Sam Northeast and Allan Donald to bring success to the club.
Matt is well known to Kent Cricket followers having enjoyed a nineteen year playing career, the majority of which were for Kent.
As a player he scored 12197 first class runs, including 28 hundreds, as well as holding the record for the highest individual Kent score at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence – 275 not out.
Speaking of his return to Kent, Matt Walker commented: “I am delighted to be returning to my roots. I cannot wait to get back to Kent and get started in helping the Club deliver some on field success.
“I would like to thank everyone at Essex for the support they have given me and I wish them well for the future. A return to my home Club is something I hoped for and I aim to help a talented group of players deliver what they are capable of.”
The new assistant coach returned to The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence last month after five years away at Essex, two as a player, three as batting coach.
He joins old team-mates Mark Ealham and Min Patel as part of Jimmy Adams’ backroom staff – and he’s tipped the old guard to bring out the best in the Kent crop.
Walker said: “It’s a bit like going back 10 years! Min is doing bits and pieces with the spinners. Mark is our bowling coach, basically. He’s in on a part-time basis doing a couple of days a week and a few academy sessions in the evening. He’s very positive and has a straight-forward way of thinking. You can already see the bowlers improving.
“The whole Kent feel is a good thing to have. We’re all very passionate about the club – and the head coach is extremely passionate for the club too.
“Things are very special when it’s your club. You have that extra ingredient that can hopefully feed off on to the players.
“It’s a different era nowadays and there is so much more player movement than there was 20 years ago – but we’re lucky here at Kent. We’re lucky that in the next five or 10 years we should have a core of homegrown players coming through.
“The likes of [Sam] Billings, [Sam] Northeast, Daniel Bell-Drummond and Adam Riley can all hopefully become the core of a very successful Kent team – and when it’s homegrown it always has something a bit more special.
“I’m not saying we’re going to win this, that or the other. At this time in the year every coach around the country is going to be saying similar things as they’ll all be confident.
“But I know the players and the dynamic of the team. If we play as well as I know we can there’s no reason this season can’t be a success. It’s about playing well enough for long enough. We have the players, the ability is there and it’s a case of being good enough, day in, day out.
“I look at the list of players and we have real experience there, mixed in with a number of young players that are going to play. There’s a real opportunity for the younger ones to make an impact of the game. The future – the next 10 years – is so exciting.”