Stevens previews the Hong Kong Sixes

Wednesday 28th October 2009

By Mark Pennell
KENT batsman Darren Stevens is looking forward to showcasing his limited overs“ batting prowess on an international stage this weekend when England“s strong, seven-man squad travel in defence of their Hong Kong Sixes title.

The 33-year-old right-hander was surprised, yet delighted by his first call up for England duty since being long-listed in England“s 30-man provisional World Cup squad seven years ago. After such a wait he is understandably keen to make an impression this time around.

Stevens said: “I“ve heard the squad announced for Hong Kong over the past three of four years and wondered what the hell I had to do to get involved in that, and now I know.

“Then the other week I had a call from Geoff Miller when I was in the car on my way up north to play golf in a two-day charity event. He rang me at about 9 o“clock in the morning and told me he was managing the side and that he“d selected me. It was a shock, but good to hear from him and I“ll take this for sure.

“It“s the first rung on the international ladder and it“s a very competitive side. Chris Read has been there and done it, Jamie Dalrymple has had a great year, Graham Napier is on the fringes of the
One-day international and T20 sides and Rory Hamilton-Brown, Me and Peter Trego are guys they want to have a closer look at.”

Stevens added: “I feel I“ve been as consistent as anyone in one-day cricket over the past two years and in that time I“d like to think I“ve won about 30 per cent of Kent“s games with my batting.

“I“ve done well in Twenty20 cricket in the past two years and won games for Kent and the selectors have seen that, maybe considered me for a Twenty20 squad and, when looking outside of that, picked me for this.”

As for his four-day form in 2009, Stevens concedes he suffered a mixed campaign despite scoring 857 championship runs at an average of 40. He said: “I started quite well, and finished ok, but I had a real lull in the middle of the season which was really disappointing because I“d worked so hard during the winter and felt in decent nick.

“My form left me in the Tunbridge Wells game and went down hill for six weeks, but I got my act together in late August and just about managed to get my thousand for the summer.”

Australia, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka also contest the competition at the Kowloon Cricket Club from October 31 to November 1.

England squad: Chris Read (Nottinghamshire Capt/wicketkeeper), Jamie Dalrymple (Glamorgan), Darren Stevens (Kent), Graham Wagg (Derbyshire), Graham Napier (Essex), Peter Trego (Somerset), Rory Hamilton-Brown (Sussex).

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