Test Match Sofa
Kent capture Haggett
By Mark Pennnell
Kent have boosted their first-team resources with the capture of 22-year-old all-rounder Calum Haggett from Somerset.
The former England Under-19 player first came to the cricketing forefront at Millfield, where he emerged under the guidance of the school’s head of cricket and one-time Kent and England bowler, Richard Ellison.
A delighted Haggett said: “I am really excited and looking forward to playing for Kent, and I hope I can make a contribution to what will hopefully be a very successful season.”
A left-handed, middle-order batsman and right-arm seamer who has yet to make a first-class appearance, Haggett spent the final two months of last season trialling with Kent’s second string and did enough to convince Kent coach Jimmy Adams that he deserved a shot at first team cricket.
Adams said: “A large part of what we’re trying to do here at Kent is to develop first-class players and we are keen to watch our talented young players grow, and them getting the opportunity to play is part of that.
“Players that age (22) can go as far as they want and I'm very happy with his signing."
Joining a new club completes a remarkable comeback for Haggett who, only three years ago, must have feared that a heart defect might ruin his aspirations to become a first-class cricketer.
Whilst at England Under-19 squad training in Loughborough ahead of the planned tour of New Zealand in 2010, Haggett and the entire squad were given mandatory heart scans which detected a aortic root dilatation and a leaking heart valve, which soon led to open heart surgery.
Haggett, who hails from the west county village of Shapwick and plays for Somerset League side Bridgewater, said: "I wouldn't say it was worrying - it was dealt with and I just wanted to get it done and get on with playing cricket.
"I am very grateful to the ECB, because they arranged for me to see the top surgeon in Brussels and have the operation. They did a good job, along with my cardiologist in Bristol, although it was tough
during the summer when I didn't have a lot to do.”
Now back to full fitness Haggett, who played for the England Under-19 side alongside the likes of Joe Root, Jos Buttler and new Kent team-mates Daniel Bell-Drummond and Adam Ball, is hoping to make the most of his second chance with Kent.
Kent’s high performance director, Simon Willis said: “Calum impressed with consistent performances for the second eleven last summer, finishing the season with a major contribution against Leicestershire with bat and ball.”
Currently playing in South Africa, Haggett, who has played three twenty20 matches for Somerset, will return to the England later this week and resume training with the Kent squad.
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