Derbyshire hope veteran Darren Stevens will provide valuable T20 experience
Experience counts for a lot in sport and Derbyshire believe Darren Stevens will help them on and off the field in the upcoming Vitality Blast.
The 43-year-old Kent all-rounder has joined the Falcons on loan for the T20 competition which starts with the visit of the Yorkshire Vikings at Queen's Park, Chesterfield on Saturday.
Stevens comes with an impressive pedigree, having won the T20 with Leicestershire and Kent, and is a player who can change a game with both bat and ball.
He has been scoring runs and taking wickets this season for Kent in Division One in the Specsavers County Championship and his arrival provides a boost after Derbyshire's second overseas signing Billy Stanlake was forced to pull out through injury.
Derbyshire's head of cricket Dave Houghton is excited at the prospect of Stevens bringing his aggressive batting and skills as a seam bowler to the club.
"It's a big signing for us," he said. "We were unlucky that we couldn't replace the two overseas bowlers we had, who for different reasons failed to make it, so to be able to get someone like Darren on a free loan from Kent is absolute class for us.
"He fits in exactly with what we have as a team and what we want as a team and the type of wickets we play on.
"He's someone who can take the new ball up front and bowl in those first six overs and someone who can smack the ball at the end of an innings and win us a game off his own bat.
"He's evergreen to me and I think he's got two five-fors in his last two championship games and he's got runs as well so he comes to us in great form. He's a good guy and besides it will be great to have his experience in our changing room.”
Houghton came up against Stevens when he was batting coach at Middlesex who play against Kent in the South Group of the Blast.
"He is a very experienced campaigner and I know from being in the southern section, as I have been for the last four years, when you were playing against Kent the one person you didn't want to see was Darren Stevens,” he said.
"Everybody respects his cricket abilities, particularly in the white-ball format around the country and to have that experience to help our youngsters grow in the game with the knowledge he will give us and to have it on the field to help Billy (Godleman) in his captaincy role, I think we've done really well and I can't wait for him to join us."