Published: 06:00, 12 September 2019
Kent’s Grant Stewart is targeting a return to action before the end of the season as he continues his comeback from injury.
The Australian-born all-rounder has been sidelined since suffering a hamstring tear during August’s win over Hampshire in the T20 Blast.
Stewart was forced off the field after racing back for two and diving for the crease at the non-striker’s end to leave Kent needing two to win off the final two deliveries.
The 25-year-old said: “It’s going very well at the moment to be fair.
“When it happened it wasn’t looking that great for the rest of the season but it’s progressed pretty well and I’m hoping to play some part in the rest of the season, for sure.
“I’m aiming for the Yorkshire game. I’m going to be playing in the 2s (against Glamorgan) down at Beckenham this week to get a few overs in and if all goes well there I’ll be available for selection for the last two games of the season.”
Stewart’s absence combined with the loss of Adam Milne to injury and the end of Mohammad Nabi’s spell in Canterbury in contributing to a difficult end to the T20 campaign.
He added: “It is a tough one really.I haven’t had many opportunities in the T20s over the last two years but it was good to get a couple of games and do okay and then the injury came at a bad time.
“I would have probably played a few more, it is quite tough. It’s obviously been tough on the boys, because nobody likes losing.
“It’s tough when things aren’t going too well and you can’t really contribute to help out in any way.
“I don’t think my injury was as big a blow as losing Nabi and Adam Milne.
“I think having a player like Nabi, who I guess filled a similar role to Joe (Denly) in batting and bowling four overs, makes a massive difference to the balance of the side when you lose a player like that.
“Then losing Milney’s strike power up front and his skills at the death was a big loss as well.
“I guess those two were probably the main ones but I guess other injuries along the way didn’t help either.”
Kent’s focus is now very much on ending the County Championship campaign on a high – which Stewart will be hoping to play some part in doing.
“As a squad we had a little bit of time to reflect but everybody is moving in the right direction at the moment,” he explained.
“Everybody is keen to finish the season well in the Championship and finish as high as possible in the table.”
Stewart also believes there are plenty of positives to take from the season if Kent retain their Division 1 status, namely the progress of a young outfit that has seen Zak Crawley and Ollie Robinson impress and Jordan Cox and Marcus O'Riordan make their first-team debuts.
“We've proven a bit of a point that we can compete,” said Stewart.
“Even against the two top teams Essex and Somerset, we probably just let ourselves down in a session or two.
“Going forward after a year like this with a bit of experience for a young side, we're only going to gain from it and be better off for next year.
“I think the higher we can finish, it will make a little bit of a statement to the other counties around us.”
In terms of plans over the off-season, Stewart is set to spend much of his time in England before travelling back to Australia for Christmas and New Year.
He said: "This winter I'll most likely be spending a lot of it over here.
“It makes a change, I used to go back to Australia but it's a bit of a change up this year. It will be a good opportunity to give my body a bit of a rest and work on a few things specifically.”
Stewart has 113 runs and a best of 59 in seven innings in Division 1 this season, as well as 15 wickets.
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More by this authorCameron Hogwood