Darren Stevens reflects on the 2013 season

Friday 11th October 2013

Men’s First Team

Darren Stevens reflects on the 2013 season

At the end of September, Kent’s player-of-the year, Darren Stevens, completed another season in style with a stunning, unbeaten 205 to condemn division two champions Lancashire to their only LV= County Championship defeat of the season.

Chasing down 418 to win, the 37 year-old blasted 21 boundaries and three towering sixes to underline his status as one of the most entertaining batsman on the domestic circuit. The innings took Stevens to 1,880 runs for the season as he finished on top of the Kent averages with 63.40.

Add to that the 51 victims he captured and Stevens continues to prove his all-round quality to the side.

The former Leicestershire player scooped four accolades at the end-of-season awards, together with the 2013 Walter Lawrence Trophy for the fastest hundred of the season – when he bludgeoned a 44-ball ton against the Sussex Sharks in June.

Here, the fans favourite talks to the official Kent Cricket website about scoring runs, the season just passed and his hopes and aims for the future.

How would you assess your contribution in the 2013 season?

It was very pleasing. Considering the start I had, with a couple of niggles and some low scores, I was pleased to turn it around because things didn’t go to plan at the outset. I was a little frustrated as I had a side strain and couldn’t do too much. I then had a small problem with my knee and missed the Northants game. It was a frustrating period but it gave me time to get my mind right and to be clear on what I wanted. I put in lots of time practising and tightened up my game a little bit. Things then came together and it helped me for the rest of the year.

It was another vintage season and you seem to be getting better year-upon-year. Would you agree?

It’s pleasing to hear people saying that. I had a member say I’m getting better and better – like a fine red wine, at the end of the Lancashire game! I’m not totally sure why I’m playing so well but I guess a lot of it is to do with experience and knowing my game inside out.

You’ve been playing with an ICC charge over you, has that been difficult?

Yes, of course it has. I’ve got no worries and I’m sure that it will look after itself, but it hasn’t been easy. The players have all been superb, as have the other members of staff.

You swept the board at the end of season awards night. How pleasing was it to be named player of the year for 2013?

It’s an honour to be selected by the people that come and watch you play. It’s something that all of the Kent lads strive towards and that is the main award that the players want because the public vote for it. To be nominated by the fans is a great honour. I was pleased to get the bowling award too, because I’ve worked really hard on it throughout my time at Kent and I really enjoy it. I think it helps that I didn’t do much bowling when I was younger so it hasn’t really taken its toll on me. It is getting harder year upon year. I seem to be bowling more overs in all forms of the game but getting the bowling award was arguably more pleasing for me than receiving the batting accolade. The fielding award always seems a little odd to me but I’m still glad to receive it, don’t get me wrong!

You’ve really enjoyed your time with Kent but your contribution must have even surprised you, hasn’t it?

I guess so. I was given a second chance by Kent, after being released by Leicestershire, and I was disappointed to be let go. I averaged 45 in my last year at Grace Road, so it was an interesting decision on their part. I think it was more politics off the field, rather than performances on it. I would love to know my stats over the last nine years with Kent. I certainly feel I’ve taken advantage of my second chance and I would like to think I’ve given it my all. I’ve always looked to do the best I can for the lads and the Club. I’ve wanted to win trophies and we won the second division trophy as well as the Twenty20 Cup, in 2007, which was a great experience.

England honours have escaped you. How disappointing is that?

It’s very disappointing and I’ve thought about it in great detail over the years. Look, it’s every young lads dream to play for their country and unfortunately it hasn’t happened for me. I played one-day tri-series cricket for the England Lions against the West Indies and India and topped the averages with 79.66. After doing well, I thought that I might get my chance but the selectors have never picked me. Looking back, I certainly think that I’ve given it my all. Had I learned and understood my game more at a younger age then I might have been given a chance. When you don’t learn your game early, I think you always struggle to make a mark at international level.

How would you assess the season for Kent?

I guess it was a little bit like 2012. We could have, we should have but, ultimately, we didn’t. The youngsters are coming through now and we have some talented players. Daniel Bell-Drummond is a cricketer for the future. He’s a good little player. I would like to see him batting at five because the game is all about confidence and I think he found it difficult at times. I think he would really blossom in the middle order and, perhaps, churned out a few more hundreds. Sam Billings is another fine young player. He’s got the talent – he just needs to find greater consistency.

All being well, you’ve still got some good playing time ahead of you. Have you thought about the future?

I have, yes. Fingers crossed I will start my Level 3 coaching course over the winter and I’m thinking about doing a course for umpires too. I also wouldn’t mind looking at something outside of the game although everything is still being considered. Overall, I think coaching is where I would like to go but I will freshen up my mind and look at the different challenges that are on offer. I haven’t really thought about playing cricket abroad too much but I’d love to get the chance to play in South Africa as it’s the one place I haven’t played yet. Let’s see what happens.