Published: 06:00, 29 October 2019
Kent head coach Matt Walker has challenged Calum Haggett to return to full fitness and fight for his place in the side in 2020.
The all-rounder spent much of the 2019 season playing for the 2nds as he continued his recovery from an elbow injury.
With veteran Darren Stevens having been awarded a contract extension and Grant Stewart also competing in the all-rounder department, questions loom over Haggett’s involvement at Canterbury.
Walker said: “Calum is a talent, I’ve always rated Calum Haggett very highly.
“He’s had problems physically which has stop-started his career a little bit. Certainly he was one of our best T20 bowlers only two years ago.
“We haven’t got many all-rounders at the club.
“Darren is going to be 44 next year and will obviously just be playing red-ball cricket so Calum has an opportunity as an all-rounder in white-ball cricket and hopefully beyond that as well.
“He’s got to do it himself and put the performances in. We have to be fair in our selection.”
Haggett signed a contract extension at Kent back in November 2018 which is due to expire at the end of the 2020 season. This followed his contribution of 14 wickets in 11 games in the Royal London One-Day Cup that year, as well as 11 wickets across appearances in each of Kent’s T20 matches.
Walker added: “Calum has had injury problems this year which has really blighted his season unfortunately.
“We were going to let Darren go and at the stage of the season when that conversation happened, which had to happen in June, we felt it was the right decision and that he hadn’t really produced what we know he could produce.
“We looked to move forward and in the end by his own incredible performances that decision got changed.
“It was the right decision at the time to do what we were going to do and it was the right decision to change it at the end.
“It doesn’t change anything as far as Calum is concerned, he needs to put in performances in the second team and needs to get himself fit to start with.”
A similar message applies to every player striving to break into the first-team as Kent prepare to enter the new year with greater strength in depth.
“If you want to get in the first-team it’s about making our lives as hard as they can be to not pick you,” said Walker.
“Sometimes even with great performances, unless there's an opportunity that arises you may not get your chance.
“You just have to do your thing and keep producing big scores, good bowling performances.
“We want everybody fighting fit and producing performances in the second team that gives us some good headaches so when it comes down to selecting any team in any format we know we've got some really positive options to go with.”
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More by this authorCameron Hogwood