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Vitality Blast: Darren Stevens leaves Kent on loan for T20 campaign

By Cameron Hogwood

Darren Stevens won't feature for Kent in the T20 Vitality Blast this season.

The veteran all-rounder has joined Derbyshire on loan after being informed he wouldn't be involved in the competition for the second year running.

Stevens was overlooked entirely in 2018 as the Spitfires reached the quarter-finals, where they were beaten by Lancashire Lightning.

Darren Stevens during the 2018 Royal London One-Day Cup final against Hampshire. Picture Ady Kerry
Darren Stevens during the 2018 Royal London One-Day Cup final against Hampshire. Picture Ady Kerry

Stevens told KentOnline: "I spoke to Paul Downton and they (Kent) made it very clear that I won't be playing in the Twenty20.

"Last year I had an injury and it kept me out of the first couple of T20 games and when I came back the youngsters were doing okay and they just said 'we're going to give the youngsters a bit of a go'.

"I understand it and get it, I'm just gutted because it's my favourite format and I've always thrived on big occasions and really enjoyed it over the years.

"I've won five trophies in T20 so I've got a lot of experience there, but I get the big picture. They got to the quarter-final last season.

"I asked the question last year and they wouldn't let me go because we had a couple of four-day games in-between the T20s.

"This year I just said 'you can't expect me not to be playing any cricket and then perform at the drop of the hat'. So I said 'let me go on loan, I'll go play cricket somewhere hopefully and then if you need to bring me back I'll have been playing cricket somewhere rather sitting on my backside at home.'"

Stevens has scored 3,128 runs at an average of 27.92 in 141 T20 innings for Kent, as well as taking 99 wickets in 116 innings.

He won't be available to play if Derbyshire face Kent later on in the tournament.

Darren Stevens. Picture: Ady Kerry
Darren Stevens. Picture: Ady Kerry

Kent re-signed New Zealand fast bowler Adam Milne for the Vitality Blast for the third year running in February, as well as acquiring the services of Afghanistan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi for the opening 11 games of the competition.

South African paceman Hardus Viljoen will also be involved as he returns to the club where he made four County Championship appearances in 2016.

On Kent's chances, Stevens added: "We've got (Adam) Milne coming over who is biting at the bit again and a good signing in Hardus Viljoen who has been at the club before and knows what he's coming into.

"His T20 skills have been outstanding over the last few years, all around the world.

"Then you've got Mitch Claydon who is one of the best around at the death and then the youngsters who are doing well in the championship.

"I think Matt Milnes will have a big part to play and Grant Stewart as well. Obviously (Mohammad) Nabi as well who is a world class cricketer all-round.

"I've got high hopes for the Kent boys with the youngsters coming in. I'm excited for them, I'm just gutted I can't be involved."

Read more: All the latest Kent sport news

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