Published: 08:00, 17 April 2014
Assistant coach Matt Walker has confirmed Sam Billings is the man in possession of the Kent wicketkeeper gloves, leaving Geraint Jones on the sidelines after a decade behind the stumps.
Walker admitted the decision to install Billings, 22, was “tough on Geraint” but said: “Sam came back from Australia having had a good winter.
"He looked sharp and had a good pre-season. He’s played well and as a group, we all thought the time was right for him to take the gloves.”
Walker added: “It’s never an easy decision but when you have someone who could potentially be the Kent wicketkeeper for the next 15 years you have to find the right time to make the change. We think this is it.”
Walker – who played alongside former England gloveman Jones during his time as a Kent player – added: “Jonah will show the right attitude and he still has a part to play. He will go and play for the 2nds and do the best he can. Nothing is set in stone. He still has a role here.
“It’s one of the important things with having a squad, you want people looking over their shoulder.”
Jones, 37, was dropped from the Spitfires’ t20 side in favour of Billings last summer, only to be recalled and installed as captain soon after when James Tredwell was called up by England.
Kent are set to name an unchanged side for their opening home game of the season against Leicestershire on Sunday.
Robbie Joseph and Doug Bollinger are set to lead the pace attack after taking wickets in the LV=Championship Division 2 opener at Worcester this week.
Mark Davies (bicep) and Calum Haggett (side strain) will miss several more weeks, while Alex Blake (shoulder) sought to prove his fitness in a 2nd XI game against Warwicks on Tuesday, a side skippered by Jones.
Walker said: “Fitness-permitting, we don’t envisage too many changes. Robbie and Doug bowled well together.
“We’ll have to play well but it’s been a good pre-season for us at Canterbury. Hopefully, we can start with a win there and show the Kent faithful what we’re all about. It’s important to make your home a fortress.”
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