Darren Stevens will have the chance to become county cricket’s oldest player since the mid-nineties in 2021 after Kent offered their veteran all-rounder a new contract.
Stevens will turn 45 next April but Kent have seen enough in his performances in the Bob Willis Trophy this month to convince them he is capable of maintaining the standards he has reached in recent seasons with both bat and ball.
Former England off-spinner Eddie Hemmings was the last 45-year-old to play regular County Championship cricket, finally calling it quits with Sussex at 46 in 1995. Graham Gooch and John Emburey were both 44 when they made their final career appearances in 1997.
Darren Stevens will have the chance to become county cricket’s oldest player since 1995
Kent have offered the 44-year-old all-rounder a new deal following his impressive form
Twelve months ago, Stevens appeared set for a move elsewhere after Kent revealed they would not be offering him another deal, only for an extraordinary late-season run of form – which saw him hit a career-best 237 and take seven wickets in a crushing win over Yorkshire – to trigger a u-turn.
Now, the fans’ favourite is set for a 17th season at a club he joined from Leicestershire in late 2004.
Stevens had just six first-class wickets to his name in eight seasons when he made the switch south but his medium-pace bowling has been a revelation over the past decade of competitive four-day cricket.
Although he did not claim his 100th first-class victim until the month in which he turned 35, he has proved prolific since being handed the new ball at the start of the 2011 County Championship season, claiming 436 at just 22.72 runs apiece.
This season, he has added two more five-wicket hauls to his collection to 28 for a Kent team – who face Surrey at the Kia Oval in their penultimate BWT group match from today (Saturday) – with hopes of challenging for the Division One title next summer following a fourth-placed finish in 2019.
Former England batsman Graham Gooch was 44 when he made his final career appearance
Stevens appeared set for a move elsewhere last year but now he is set for a 17th Kent season
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