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Kent and England batsman Sam Billings hasn't taken in magnitude of his global travels

By Alex Hoad

Sam Billings admits he hasn’t had time to stop and reflect on the magnitude of his global jet-setting cricket career.

The wicketkeeper-batsman, who turns 26 next month, made his first appearances of the season for his home club this week after a whirlwind spell which has seen him tour Bangladesh, India and the West Indies with England’s white-ball squad.

He has also had stints in the Big Bash with Sydney Sixers, the Pakistan Super League with Islamabad United and the IPL with the Delhi Daredevils – all since the turn of the year.

Sam Billings. Picture Chris Davey

Sam Billings. Picture: Chris Davey

Billings linked-up with Kent after a two-match ODI series against Ireland on home soil but despite his 69 from 65 balls, the Spitfires lost to Surrey at the Oval on Friday night and his 24 at Glamorgan on Sunday also came in a defeat – Kent’s sixth defeat in seven.

Billings admitted: “Friday was a disappointing result. If I could have got us over the line it would have been a lovely start back at Kent.

“It is difficult coming back into a side that is out of the competition. For me it’s probably a slightly different pressure, there’s actually probably more pressure on me coming back in to the side because people expect me to come in and score runs and win games.”

The two games helped him acclimatise to the conditions which England will encounter in the white-ball series with South Africa and the ICC Champions Trophy on home soil next month.

Billings said: “It’s good to spend some time in the middle. The conditions are obviously different to wherever I’ve played in the past six months – which is most places – so it’s about getting used to the pitches again.

“I think the time I batted (against Ireland at Lord’s) was the first I’d batted in an ODI here in nearly two years. It is different but it’s time in the middle, you can’t replace that.”

Billings joined an England fitness test at Loughborough this week before a three-day training camp in Spain.

He said: “It’s a great experience. I’m loving every minute. I haven’t really had time to sit on the sofa and think (about what I’ve done) and really take it all in. The Big Bash seems like years ago for me.

“I’m sure I’ll get a couple of days in Spain by the pool to just collect my thoughts and look forward to an exciting summer full of cricket in our own back yard.”

Billings said his grueling schedule is demanding both physically and mentally, adding: “You must be doing something right if people want you but you have to look after yourself on and off the field.

“It’s a lot of cricket, the schedule is pretty brutal. It tests you mentally but it tests you more as a cricketer in terms of your capability and what you can do.

“If you can play in all those conditions and be successful, it means you offer a lot to every side around the world. 

“That’s what I’m trying to be, as complete a cricketer as I can, all around the world.”

He added: “It’s just adapting and trying to keep improving, every time you play. At the end of the day, especially in these T20 competitions, it’s basically playing international cricket around the world anyway. 

“The standard is that good and the crowds are that big, the intensity is there.”

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