County news September 14, 2008

Walker released by Kent

Cricinfo staff

It's all over: Matt Walker's 16-year Kent career ends with his benefit season © Getty Images

Matt Walker, the Kent batsman, will leave the county having spent 16 years at Canterbury. Kent released Walker from his contract following a season - his benefit year - in which he had limited first-team opportunities. He has been tipped for a move to Essex.

Walker, 34, made his debut for Kent in 1992 and scored 9768 runs at 36.31 in 479 appearances. His 275 against Somerset in 1996 remains the best for a Kent batsman at Canterbury. "I've thoroughly enjoyed a wonderful 16 years at Kent and have made some good friends, both on and off the field," he said. "I would like to thank my team-mates, the supporters and everyone at the club for making my time here so special.

"I am deeply saddened to be leaving the club that I have always wanted to play for but now look forward to some new challenges."

Peter Morgan, the Kent president, said: "Matthew has made a major contribution to Kent cricket during his 16 years with us. Aside from his huge talent as a cricketer, Matthew's infectious enthusiasm for life on and off the field has endeared him to everyone connected with Kent cricket.

"We will miss him greatly and wish him and his family well for the rest of his benefit year and into the future."