ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Players / Darren Stevens
Full name Darren Ian Stevens
Born April 30, 1976, Leicester
Current age 41 years 359 days
Major teams Dhaka Gladiators, Dhaka Gladiators, England Lions, Kent, Leicestershire, Otago
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm medium
Height 5 ft 11 in
Education Mount Grace High School, John College
|Last First-class||Durham v Kent at Chester-le-Street, Apr 20-21, 2018 scorecard|
|List A debut||1997|
|Last List A||Glamorgan v Kent at Swansea, May 14, 2017 scorecard|
|T20s debut||Leicestershire v Yorkshire at Leicester, Jun 16, 2003 scorecard|
|Last T20s||Kent v Surrey at Canterbury, Aug 18, 2017 scorecard|
Darren Stevens is one of the great evergreen performers of the county circuit. Not many county cricketers have become increasingly enthusiastic about the grunt work of swing and seam bowling after their 30th birthday but Stevens has. Indeed, with his 40th birthday now long gone, he is still churning out the overs in commendable fashion, recognised as one of the great servants of Kent cricket.
Stevens' return in the Championship in 2017 was extraordinary for a man with so many rings on the tree: 62 wickets at 18.08, which to put in curious perspective was more than twice as good as the record of Matt Coles, who upped sticks to join the champions Essex at the end of the season with a vow to reach his potential. That Stevens would forever strive to reach his potential was a given, his best return a career-best 8 for 75 against his former county Leicestershire. In Twenty20, though, he was more lightly used, valued as much for the potential of his hitting.
Combative with bat and ball, and a prodigious trainer, Stevens existed on one-year contracts once his 40th birthday arrived, but reasserted himself as one of the respected old salts of the county circuit - in part a wily old head, in part an untameable showstopper.
Stevens made his debut for Leicestershire in 1997 at the age of 21, but it was not until 1999 that he played his fourth Championship match, and he marked the occasion by scoring 130 against Sussex at Arundel where his innings received the seal of approval of the watching Lord Cowdrey. Even so, his appearances remained spasmodic until middle-order batsmen like Aftab Habib and Ben Smith left the county. He took his chance, impressing many good judges with his clean striking of the ball - earning himself a place in the National Academy squad to go to Australia in 2002-03 and also making the final 30 for that winter's World Cup. After two relatively lean seasons, he left Leicestershire to join Kent at the end of 2004, and was an instant hit scoring an impressive 1277 runs in his first season at Canterbury.
At that stage of his career, bowling was very much Stevens' second string. With Kent coming to rely more and more on his medium-pace, however, he developed into a genuine county all-rounder and took the new ball - with plenty of success - during the first half of the 2011 season. Add bowling ability to serious batting power and it was no surprise to see him recruited for T20 cricket by sides in both Bangladesh and New Zealand. Back at Canterbury, Stevens became hugely popular with Kent supporters and passed 10,000 first-class runs in his two-club career.
He swept the board at the 2013 Player of the Year event: best player, best, bowler, and best batsman. In his ninth season since moving from Leicestershire he scored over a thousand first class runs at 63, including 205 not out against Lancashire in September. Although he is regarded as a batting all-rounder he nevertheless gathered 32 wickets in the County Championship. No Kent player scored more runs in T20 cricket, and he needed only 44 balls to score a century against Sussex in the YB40, the fastest hundred of the year.
Stevens' acquittal in February 2014 on a charge of failing to report a corrupt approach while playing in the Bangladesh Premier League allowed him to put to bed an anxious winter and, once an anti-corruption video for the PCA was delivered, focus on continuing to be the a mainstay of the Kent side.
A career-best T20 knock of 90 against Surrey at The Oval in 2015 insisted that there was life in the old dog yet, and he fought as valiantly as anybody in Kent's promotion near-miss in 2016, a century against Gloucestershire against Bristol making a timely case for a further one-year deal.
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Slow left-arm spinners generally do well in T20s, plus he can also bat a bit. Then why doesn't he stop runs, take many wickets, or bat quicker in the IPL?