“I didn’t think I’d be released,” Stevens told the ECB Reporters Network. “I’d hoped it would be down to me pulling the pin on it, but that’s not the case. They [Kent] have got other ideas and want to go in a different direction and that’s fine. It’s gutting, it’s disappointing, but that’s fine. I respect the club, I love the club and I just want the best for the club.
“”I love the game. I wouldn’t be playing now if I didn’t love it as much as I do, but I love it. I love the challenges of batting and bowling and red-ball cricket as well. I’ll keep playing until I think it’s right, and at the minute I don’t think it’s right [to quit].”
“My job is to take wickets and get runs for Kent, so that’s what I’ll do until I finish. I want to [play next season]. I still feel like I’ve got a lot to give. I feel like I’m hitting the ball well and the ball’s coming out alright, so I feel like I can do a job for a club somewhere. I’d like a player-coach role but at the moment I still feel I can do a job with the bat and the ball.”
He has struggled with the ball this year on flatter pitches, with four wickets at 92.75 in the Championship in 2022 after five consecutive seasons averaging below 20, and had to rush back from injury in order to play in Kent’s final group game in the Royal London Cup.
“Two injuries haven’t helped me,” he said. “Getting a collarbone strike put me out for longer than I was expecting… that was hard to take. Getting back for the one-day stuff, I was pleased and I was ready to go, but then pinging my calf at Glamorgan was gut-wrenching; I’ve never done a calf before. It’ll be three weeks this Thursday, so I’ve done well to get back.
“You couldn’t have written it, could you?” he said about the quarter-final draw, which pits Kent against his old club. “It’s a different challenge, a different place to play. We haven’t played white-ball cricket there for a long time.”
“No, nothing yet,” he said, when asked if he had been offered a deal anywhere. “We’ll see what happens. We’ve got a quarter-final to play at the end of the week. If people call and offer things, we’ll have a sit-down as the weeks go on and decide, probably towards the end of the year.”
He is also an improbable entrant for this weekend’s Big Bash draft. “My agent put me in for that,” Stevens said. “He called and said ‘I’ve put you in!’ I was like, ‘yeah, great, cheers.’ I think he’s put me in for everything. Why not? I still want to play. It’d be good, wouldn’t it? It’d be a good way to go out.”