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Darren Stevens: Kent all-rounder considering next move after One-Day Cup final victory

Darren Stevens was one of only three Kent players in both the One-Day Cup side and last year’s T20 Blast triumph

Darren Stevens is still weighing up his future after helping Kent to their second trophy in as many years.

The all-rounder revealed that he could have played in the County Championship run-in for relegation battlers Kent, only to have picked up a groin injury.

“I want to play this week, but it’s a bit sore,” he told BBC Radio Kent.

“I will try to get fit in the next 48 hours but I can’t see it happening.”

As to his longer term future, although Stevens admits he would have liked to have been offered another deal by Kent, he does have two player-coach offers on the table elsewhere.

He said at Trent Bridge on Saturday evening: “If that is the end, then what a way to bow out.

“I was sorry to be off the field when we actually won at the end, but that’s three trophies in my time here – and two of them in two years.

“I’d love to have won more, but there’s so many teams out there, which make it so hard, so this is a great feeling.

“If that’s the end, then fine. I’d love to stay on but that doesn’t look like that’s happening.

“Hopefully it’s not the end completely and I can carry on playing somewhere else.”

‘A real team effort’

If Saturday’s 21-run win over Lancashire does prove to be Stevens’ Kent swansong after 17 years at Canterbury, the former Leicestershire all-rounder was proud to be part of such a talented, hard-working team.

He was one of only three of Kent’s winning One-Day Cup side who also played in last year’s T20 Blast triumph at Edgbaston against Somerset as, like Lancashire, they resisted any urge to bring back any of their Hundred players, including county captain Sam Billings.

But Kent won six matches on the spin – their final three home group games, including Ben Compton’s 87 to beat Northants, Grant Stewart’s stunning last-ball six to beat Yorkshire, then the penultimate-ball win over Lancashire, to reach the knockout stages.

They have won on three away grounds, with half-centuries for skipper Joe Denly, Joey Evison and Compton on Stevens’ old patch at Leicester, his own amazing semi-final heroics at Southampton and then the grand finale at Trent Bridge.

Darren Stevens' fan club were a noisy presence in the Kent-dominated 9,000 crowd at Trent Bridge
Darren Stevens’ fan club were a noisy presence in the Kent-dominated 9,000 crowd at Trent Bridge

“After getting over 300 to win at Worcester we then lost a few early doors but the key for us was that, in the winning run we’ve then had, there has always been someone who stood up to win us the game.

“Here we had Joey Evison. What a little find he’s been for us at the top of the order.

“But the stand-out difference between the two sides was the fielding.

“We caught all ours – some stunning catches too – and they dropped too many. If we had got only 260 then it would have been a different game.

“I’ve been feeling like I’m in a bit of nick and I’d have liked to have had a go and got a few away but we knew we had 300 on the cards and that one-a-ball would take us there and that proved enough.”

Kent, who are one of three teams looking to avoid the second Division One relegation slot, had not originally intended to use Stevens in the Championship run-in.

But they are now only level on points with ninth-placed Warwickshire going into this week’s trip to title-chasing Hampshire – and eight points behind Somerset, who they play in what could yet be a losers-go-down encounter at Canterbury next week.

SOURCE: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/62946549

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