A coming of age?
Darren Stevens was told during the 2019 County Championship that his contract would not be renewed by his team Kent. This was his final season at the club. However, he scored a double-century and took five wickets in the same game to force Kent to rethink their strategy. Since then, Darren Stevens has been pivotal at the club and he continues to defy belief, seemingly putting his name in the mix for the England Test squad.
At the age of 45, he is as good as any all-rounder in the County Championship, up there with the likes of Simon Harmer and Craig Overton. Darren Stevens’ overall record in First Class Cricket reads as follows: nearly 16,000 runs at a batting average of 35 and over 500 wickets at a bowling average of 25. He is perhaps more of a batting all-rounder by trait but his bowling is more than handy on any pitches that have seam or swing movement.
With the team 92-7, Stevens launched an incredible counter-attack to help Kent to 307 all-out, just days ago against Glamorgan. His personal 190 came off just 149 balls and included fifteen fours and fifteen sixes. He is currently in the form of his life.
The dream opportunity?
Despite Ben Stokes’ absence against New Zealand, Darren Stevens may still find it difficult to fit into the starting XI, should he be called up to the England Test squad. The Three Lions, who’s squad has a new look about it, are likely to go in with five front-line batsmen and a wicket-keeper. Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and a spin bowler are likely to be three other picks. This means that Stevens will need to replace either Chris Woakes or Sam Curran in the side – both of whom have excellent records in England.
Plus, his future could also be a big point for the selectors to consider. It is unlikely that he will continue playing late into his forties and perhaps his early fifties and so not picking him altogether might be an option. Instead, it would perhaps make more sense to allow Darren Stevens to continue prospering at Kent and enjoy his last few seasons, rather than try and fit him in the England Test squad.
Either way, the fact that Stevens is being spoken off in such a way, speaks highly of the resilience and character that he has shown over the last couple of seasons. He is already a stalwart and a County Cricket legend.
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