Derbyshire loan star Darren Stevens puts retirement on back burner

All-rounder Darren Stevens, who is still going strong at the age of 43. (PHOTO BY: Henry Browne/Getty Images)
All-rounder Darren Stevens, who is still going strong at the age of 43. (PHOTO BY: Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Derbyshire’s on-loan all-rounder Darren Stevens says he has no intention of calling time on his career, even though he will leave his parent club, Kent, at the end of the season.

At the age of 43, Stevens believes he still has something to offer after it was announced he will be bringing to an end his 14-year association with Kent.

Since joining them from Leicestershire in 2005, Stevens has scored 11,718 runs and taken 487 wickets in 219 first-class matches, and his recent success in the Specsavers County Championship proves he remains a formidable opponent.

Derbyshire had no hesitation in taking Stevens on loan for the Vitality T20 Blast after Kent agreed he could join another county for the competition.

Stevens did not figure in T20 cricket last season and did not want to go through another summer without playing in the shortest form of the game.

“I was told I wasn’t going to be involved in the Twenty20s, so I thought: what am I going to do for six weeks?” he said.

“I could have had a break but I learned from last year when I had four weeks off. I know my body and I need to keep playing and ticking over, so I asked to go on loan. They wouldn’t let me last year, but this year, I’m out of contract, so they said they would let me go.

“I put my name on a loan sheet and Houghts (Dave Houghton) rang me the next day and said: how do you fancy a loan stint at Derby for the T20s? I snapped his hand off.”

Whatever happens over the coming weeks with Derbyshire, Stevens wants to be playing first-class cricket next season and a recent chat with Surrey head coach Michael Di Venuto confirmed his determination to keep going.

“I spoke to Michael a couple of weeks ago when we were at Surrey and said: what do you reckon, mate? He asked me how I was feeling, how I was hitting and how the ball was coming out, and I said great.

“He said: so why are you even thinking about retiring? Then I went and got five wickets that day! I feel great at the minute and age is just a number.

“My body has been really good this year, I feel like I’m doing my job. In the championship, I’ve got 30 wickets, including a couple of five-fers in the last two games, and, personally, I feel like I’ve still got a lot to give. I want to do another year at least.

“I suppose the bigger picture is this stint at Derbyshire is a bit of a shop window. But in my head, it’s not and I’m trying not to think about it like that. I want to win games of cricket for Derbyshire in T20.”