Kent all-rounder Darren Stevens reveals uncertainty over future following ICC charge contributed to his superb season
Kent’s player-of-the year Darren Stevens says the off-field uncertainty over his cricketing future played a large part in him having the best season of his career.
The all-rounder scooped four accolades at the end-of-season awards last week, despite playing with an ICC charge for failing to report a corrupt approach to him during February’s Bangladesh Premier League, hanging over him.
Stevens – who vehemently denies any wrong-doing –will face an anti-corruption hearing at some stage, with latest reports claiming it could be in December or early in the new year. He could face a global ban of one to five years if found guilty.
Despite the concern that it could end up being his final season, the 37-year-old has produced a series of imperious displays in all forms, leading the club ranks with 1,880 runs, 51 wickets and 25 catches combined.
Stevens (pictured) admitted: “It has been difficult, with what’s been going on since April 8... the thought that this could be it.
“It’s been tough off the pitch but in a way it’s helped me get through it. I’m sure it’s had a lot to do with the season I’ve had. I’ve worked hard and tried to throw myself into my cricket and do the best I can for the team.”
Stevens hit a 44-ball ton to inspire a world record 40-over run-chase against Sussex in June but the high point of the campaign came on the final day as he scored a superb unbeaten 205 to help Kent sneak a dramatic victory over previously unbeaten Division 2 champions Lancashire.
Stevens said: “It was a fabulous way to end the season. It was definitely the best innings I’ve ever played in the longer form.”
With the lack of match-action to focus his thoughts in coming weeks and months, Stevens revealed he was hoping to find other distractions within cricketing circles.
He said: “I have spoken to people at Kent about doing a Level 3 coaching course, there’s also an umpires course that I was thinking about –you never know what might be useful in 10 years’ time. I’ll probably sit down this week and plan what I want to do.”
He added: “We have a wedding to look forward to in New Zealand in February and I have my agent on the case, trying to find me a game somewhere. I’d love to play in South Africa, it’s the one place I’ve not played. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
“Fingers crossed I’ll pull through. I have no idea at the moment, it’s just a case of waiting.”
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