Matt Walker eager to develop Kent’s young cricketers

Wednesday 12th February 2014

Men’s First Team

Matt Walker eager to develop Kent’s young cricketers

Kent Cricket’s newly appointed Assistant Coach, Matt Walker has spoken of his excitement at working with Kent’s talented youngsters as part of his new role.

Walker returned to work at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence at the beginning of this month, having spent the majority of his 19-year playing career at Canterbury.

Walker has spoken of his excitement at getting at working with some of the younger members of Kent’s first team squad, commenting; “I think that’s probably what excites me most about coaching, actually.

“I enjoy working with senior, experienced players; at Essex I was very lucky to work with Alastair [Cook], Gautham Gambhir and Hashim Amla, and all these guys who are very experienced, very good players. But what excites me the most is the youngsters, and progressing and developing them into the players that we all know they can be.”

With finances relatively tight at the Club over the last few seasons, Walker understands how important the Club’s Academy and younger players can be; “Historically, Kent have had a good talent pipeline, and the Academy has worked pretty well. I think they’re a bit like Essex really; they’re not a club that is likely to be shelling out fortunes for overseas players or Kolpak players, so it is important that that talent is nurtured and developed in the right way.

“I think that is the challenge – obviously the immediate challenge is to kick those guys on and hopefully help them become the players that they want to be and that we want them to be. The potential is there, it’s obvious for everyone to see, but to turn them into consistent, year-in year-out first team achievers for Kent, and match-winners and ultimately trophy-winners for Kent, that’s the most important thing.”

Kent County Cricket Club has a rich history of developing outstanding home-grown players; who grow up and learned their trade in the county.

Walker commented; “When I played at Kent it was a team, pretty much for the most part of my career, that was made up of Kent [born] players and around the country it was a similar sort of way – home-grown players dominated county teams.

“The game has changed a bit now – player movement is obviously much rifer than it used to be. But, at the moment at Kent, you’ve got the likes of Bell-Drummond, Billings, Blake, Northeast, Ivan Thomas; young, home-grown players, guys that can become very, very good first team players for a number of years, and can make the spine of that Kent team now and that excites me – to see Kent players being in the Kent team and performing. That’s what I enjoy doing most and that’s what I think is going to be the immediate challenge, definitely.”

Sarah Morecombe