Darren Stevens: Kent allrounder signs contract extension, will play aged 45

Darren Stevens will still be a contracted county cricketer at the age of 45 after signing another one-year extension to his Kent deal.

Stevens, the canny allrounder whose medium pace gives top-order batsmen across the country nightmares, has taken 20 Bob Willis Trophy wickets at an average of 19.00 this season, recently taking his 800th first-class wicket.

He was all set to be released by Kent last season before an astonishing late-season run of form – including a career-best 237 against Yorkshire at Headingley – earned him an extension.

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“I’m thrilled to commit another year to Kent,” Stevens said. “I love playing for this county and it’s no secret that I didn’t want this shortened season to be the way I finished up. So I’m delighted that my recent form has shown I still have a lot left to give to the club. I’m feeling great at the moment and really driven. We have a great squad here at Kent, and it’s definitely an exciting place to be.

“I’d also like to thank the members and supporters for their continued support. We’ve definitely missed them at the ground this year and I look forward to being able to play in front of them again as soon as possible.”

Paul Downton, Kent’s director of cricket, said: “Darren has once again shown himself to be one of our most effective bowlers in first-class cricket this season. He has played in all four Bob Willis Trophy matches and proved to us that he is still an integral part of our bowling attack with the red ball.

“His wealth of experience is also invaluable as we continue to build a team capable of winning trophies.”

Stevens’ record in recent seasons is made all the more remarkable by the fact he hardly bowled early in his career. He took only six first-class wickets between his debut in 1997 and the end of the 2004 season, and first passed the 20-wicket mark in a single year in 2010.

But he has been almost unplayable in first-class cricket since 2017, taking 179 wickets at 18.28 including 16 five-wicket hauls. It was widely assumed that he would be less effective in Division One after enjoying most of his success in the second tier, but he took 52 top-flight wickets at 17.57 last season.

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