Playing overseas fits the Bill for Sam and Spitfires
SAM Billings might have come under fire from Kent supporters for taking part in the IPL but after signing a new deal at the county, the wicket-keeper batsman is adamant he is a better player for his overseas experiences.
Now 26, Billings has played in the IPL in each of the last two season for the Delhi Daredevils, while also heading abroad to feature in the Big Bash and the Pakistan Super League.
And having signed a contract extension at Canterbury, Billings believes that Kent have already benefited from his overseas stints although his planned spell in the T20 Global League in South Africa next month will not happen after the tournament was postponed until 2018.
He explained: “Quite a few Kent fans on social media have voiced their opinions on my travels but my response to that would be it’s a great opportunity and one where there’s only a certain time in your career that you can take it up, so I would be stupid not to.
“It really does improve you as a cricketer. The example I gave to Matt Walker at our end-of-season review was that coming from the IPL and coming to the crease in a pressure situation where we need 12 an over in front of 25,000 people at the Oval, to be able to execute my skills and get us across the line more or less, that was simply because I’ve had those other opportunities around the world and played in situations like that.
“The only way you learn is by playing in high-pressure situations. I think that for me it was a great example and it’s great an experience like that can help you improve and put performances in for Kent as well.
“That’s the main thing, it’s about putting performances in for Kent and hopefully England further down the line.”
Billings isn’t the only Kent player who has tried his hand overseas, with Joe Denly heading off to the Bangladesh Premier League to play for Dhaka Dynamites.
And after a season where Kent underperformed in all three formats, Billings expects the side to bounce back in 2018.
He added: “It will only progress you. You look at Joe Denly going to the BPL after the season he has had. It’s welldeserved and that will only improve him.
“Who knows? If he has another bumper season, he could get back into international cricket because he’s showed how good a player he is.
“We’ve got guys like Joe who are easily capable of playing international cricket again and that’s a promising sign. So, it’s about making sure we can play consistently and together.
“It’s hurt even more that we haven’t got the results we should get. So, we need to work even harder, we need to work at the things that haven’t been good enough this year, as a squad and as individuals as well. We all need to muck in together.
“A lot of the time, you can have a bad season and then an incredible one the next year. It’s peaks and troughs, that’s the name of the game. As long as we learn from this season, that’s the most important thing.”
Play it again, Sam: Kent’s Sam Billings has spent time in India playing for Delhi Daredevils