Matt Walker on the Season Ahead

Wednesday 12th March 2014

Men’s First Team

Matt Walker reckons Kent can look forward to an exciting future – powered by their homegrown young guns.

The new assistant coach returned to The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence last month after five years away at Essex.

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."

Kent have been handed a huge pre-season boost with the news that Darren Stevens has been cleared of corruption charges by the Bangladesh Cricket Board.

That, coupled with the signing of Aussie seamer Doug Bollinger, has left Walker in positive mood.

He said: "The Bollinger signing and the Stevo news happened quickly together. It makes it quite exciting now.

"Doug will bring huge amounts of experience and he's available to play in all forms of the game. That's massive.

"He'll offer variation with his left-arm and he has that Aussie mentality mixed into it as well.

"You know what you're getting. We have a bowler that is consistent and reliable to bowl good areas. He adds competition in the bowling ranks and that's what you want.

"Without question there will be injuries and you to have back-up in the squad. These are the guys that win you games. You need to take 20 wickets to win games of cricket in the Championship and these are the guys that do it.

"I've played with Australian overseas players before and generally speaking they're really good characters and good fun to have around.

"The fact we've got him all year is great. You need experience bowlers especially in the early season and hopefully he can make a big impact.

"Look at what Northants did with Trent Copeland. He bowled great areas for them and allowed other players to bowl around him and create pressure.

"Other players came to the party, yes, but to have someone like that adds such confidence into a bowling attack."

Sarah Morecombe