Darren Stevens: Kent all-rounder calls for Championship improvement

Darren Stevens
Darren Stevens took 61 Championship wickets at an average of 20.36 for Kent last season

Kent all-rounder Darren Stevens says their County Championship form will have to improve dramatically if they are to win promotion this season.

The Canterbury-based side finished seventh in Division Two last year.

"We have been poor over the last five or six years and we have had a good chat about that," 39-year-old Stevens told BBC Radio Kent.

"It will be tough given it is only one up, which is ridiculous. The big thing is getting off to a good start."

Only one team will be promoted from the second tier this summer in order to reduce the number of Division One teams in 2017.

"With the side we have got, they have all experienced big-game situations and have played enough cricket to know what they need to do in certain situations," Stevens said.

"I don't see why we can't kick on and go one step further than last year.

"Wins are crucial early season. If you don't get off to a good start it makes it tougher for the rest of the season and you are fighting a losing battle."

Having had no overseas player in 2015, Kent have two lined up this year.

New Zealand batsman Tom Latham will play from the start of the season, while South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada will have a stint with the club in June and July, predominantly playing limited-overs cricket.

"I wish we had got them the other way around, with Rabada earlier, but it is what it is," Stevens added.

"Given that we have struggled early season with the bat, Tom's experience will bring depth for us.

"Rabada is coming at a time of the year where he can come and bolster the side and get us through to semi-finals and finals."

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