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Beyond the Boundary: Kent's Darren Stevens writes exclusively for the KM Group

Darren Stevens
Darren Stevens

Three championship hundreds by the end of May is something I have never done in my career before.

I went out against Durham on Tuesday morning on 99 and had a couple of texts before the start of play wishing me well.

We were in trouble at 142-6 when I went in just before tea and I played and missed at the first four balls. The wicket was still doing a bit but I stuck to my game plan and took a couple of risks.

They started to bowl too aggressively which played into my hands. Most of my innings this season have been batting with the tail and I’ll always looked to be aggressive in those situations.

We were in good spirits at close of play, having got to 305-8 after getting Durham out for 121 but I can tell you we would also have batted had we won the toss.

It looked a good pitch, white in colour but changed to green when the ball pitched. We bowled too short and wide in the first hour but once Ammy and Makhaya hit their straps, they did well.

We say goodbye to Makhaya next week and were saying at dinner the other night it’s a shame he’s going just when he hitting form for us. With a first five-for for us against Durham at Canterbury last week and four more at Riverside, he has been outstanding for us, adjusting to life in county cricket well.

I think he will play his last game against Scotland on Monday when we hope to follow up on our first win of the season. We will miss him. He is still a high class player and hopefully we might see him back at Kent again.

Ammy also bowled lovely on Monday. He figured out it wasn’t a quick pitch, hit good areas and was as good as I have seen him for a long time.

Two hours after finishing the game against Durham last week the boys were on the coach going to Edinburgh, with an overnight stop in Wetherby.

The Professional Cricketers’ Association have already started consulting players about the ECB plans to restructure county cricket next season. They say around 80 per cent of those surveyed believe the schedule this year is worse than last season, despite a reduction from four competitions to three, the feedback saying the increased amount of travelling is not helping the problems.

Personally, I think the programme is ridiculous. We all love the game and playing it and enjoy visiting different towns and staying in different hotels. We can’t remember, though, when we last had a training session and there has been no time so far to practice for Twenty20.

We started the season with a four day match against Nottinghamshire at Trent
Bridge, only to have to travel back there two weeks later and stay overnight for a one-day game.

Then in August, – the middle of the summer – we only play eight or nine days cricket.

I know it’s all done on computer but a lot of thought is still needed.

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