Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Cricket -

Dar­ren Stevens says his ca­reerbest per­for­mance against Le­ices­ter­shire this week was a re­sult of hav­ing ‘six weeks off’ dur­ing Kent’s ill-fated T20 cam­paign.

The 41-year-old found his op­por­tu­ni­ties lim­ited with bat and ball dur­ing the Spit­fires’ South Group cam­paign but re­turned to form with a bang in the Spec­savers County Cham­pi­onship, claim­ing 8-75 against his home club Le­ices­ter­shire at Can­ter­bury.

With the ball in T20s, the all­rounder bowled just 18.2 overs across all 14 games, pick­ing up four wick­ets at an av­er­age of 40 while he was not called upon to bat six times and when he did, he scored just 113 runs at an av­er­age of 14.

Stevens said: “It was nice to have a red ball back in my hand. I feel like I’ve had about six weeks off, just sit­ting around watch­ing the lads play. Even when I’ve been in­volved, I’ve not re­ally been in­volved in the game.

“It’s nice to get back and get given the ball and to do a job. I en­joyed it.”

He added: “I didn’t think I was go­ing to get all 10, although there was a bit of a joke go­ing on with the boys when Milne got that (eighth) wicket.

“I’ve not taken a eight-fer be­fore – 7-20 was my best – and I think the only ones on the field not men­tion­ing that were the um­pires.

“I was just try­ing to do my job, as I do ev­ery game, try and run in and hit off-stump. That pace of pitch for me, I got the best out of it and it went my way.”

Kent did al­low a com­mand­ing po­si­tion to slip away as the vis­i­tors posted 350 in their first in­nings on day two, hav­ing been 174-8 on the open­ing day.

Stevens added: “It was a day of two halves and we were frus­trated.

“There wasn’t much pace in the pitch for our quicker lads and at 174-8 we were in a dom­i­nant po­si­tion but we let our­selves down a lit­tle bit af­ter that.

“The ball got softer and the boys got a bit weary, this be­ing the first day back af­ter five or weeks away from four-day cricket.

“That took its toll a lit­tle bit which is a bit frus­trat­ing but adapt­ing day-to-day it’s all part and par­cel of play­ing first-class cricket.”

Fol­low­ing the end of this week’s match, Kent are next in Cham­pi­onship ac­tion on Tuesday at Durham.

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