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The Hundred: Kent head coach Matt Walker reacts to role with Oval Invincibles

Kent head coach Matt Walker has welcomed The Hundred competition as an exciting addition to the cricketing calendar.

Walker was recently unveiled as the assistant coach of the Oval Invincibles – set to represent Kent and Surrey – alongside Vikram Solanki.

While understanding of scepticism among some fans of the sport, the 45-year-old insists he is relishing the new challenge of working with head coach, Australian Tom Moody.

Kent head coach Matt Walker
Kent head coach Matt Walker

He said: “It (his coaching role) has been in the pipeline for a little bit. Those sort of things take a little bit of time to sort out I guess but I’m looking forward to it.

“There’s a lot of negativity around it unfortunately, which is a shame.

“I understand some of the reasons why but I’m certainly looking forward to it.

“It’s a different challenge and you’re working with good players, different players, different coaches so from a personal point of view I’m very excited.

“It will be a great experience and when it comes around I think the competition will actually be quite exciting.

“People will start to embrace it. I’m very pleased and grateful to be a part of it.

“It’s new. You can be afraid of it and I think people are, it’s obviously another competition that will affect another competition during the season, but when something is new it does excite me.”

An intriguing aspect to the new tournament will be the introduction of a player draft, which will take inspiration from US sports in seeing teams select from a pool of players.

The draft itself is due to take place on October 20 and will be broadcast live on Sky Sports and the BBC.

Walker added: “I think the draft should provide some excitement and interest in how that develops. It will provide a sense of entertainment I think.

“First time round it will take some working out I think with how to go about it.

“We aren’t quite sure exactly how it’s going to be done yet but I think when it comes down to it it will be very interesting to see it in operation.

“It’s happening and that’s the bottom line. You can either embrace it or be against it, it depends on how you look at it.

“Certainly being involved in it, I’m looking forward to everything about it.”

Kent captain Sam Billings
Kent captain Sam Billings

Walker is hoping to see a number of his Kent players involved in the draft, with Joe Denly and Sam Billings having been overlooked by the Oval franchise in favour of Surrey’s Jason Roy and Tom Curran as the two icon players.

He explained: “I think there is a desire to try and keep that Kent and Surrey feel within the franchise.

“I know the two icon players are from Surrey and then obviously Sam Curran is the contracted player so there is quite a strong Surrey feel really.

“It would be nice to see some Kent players in there, I know there are certainly a number of players that would be very strong picks.”

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