County news January 30, 2014

Walker agrees Canterbury return

ESPNcricinfo staff

Matt Walker, the batsman who enjoyed a 19-year career in county cricket, is returning to his old club Kent as part of their new coaching setup for 2014.

Walker, who scored over 12,000 first-class runs, returns to Canterbury to become assistant coach under Jimmy Adams, leaving Essex where he held the same role for the past three seasons having finished his playing days at Chelmsford.

The change comes following a very disappointing 2013 for Kent where they failed to challenge in all three competitions. Walker is one of a number of new personnel at Kent with Dan George stepping up to become first team physiotherapist.

Other changes see Michael Najdan appointed analyst and Jon Fortescue, who previously worked with Surrey, Hampshire and Warwickshire, becoming the club's strength and conditioning coach.

"I am delighted to be returning to my roots," Walker said. "I cannot wait to get back to Kent and get started in helping the club deliver some on field success. A return to my home club is something I hoped for and I aim to help a talented group of players deliver what they are capable of.

"I want to say a huge thank you to everyone at Essex. When I came as a player, everyone has made me feel extremely welcome, for which I'm grateful. I would especially like to thank Paul Grayson for giving me the opportunity as a player and obviously as a coach. He put his faith in me as a coach and I am eternally grateful for that opportunity."

Grayson expressed his disappointment at seeing Walker move on: "It is hugely disappointing to lose Matt as he is an excellent coach. He is a super bloke and we've enjoyed him as both a player and also coach.

"We completely understand his reasons for going. He's going to leave us with a lot of memories and will be missed but we wish him all the best in his new career."

Walker will be reunited with Essex when they travel to Canterbury for a County Championship match on Saturday, June 7.