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Kent Cricket admit they could not stand in the way of Sam Billings playing in the IPL

By Josh Fordham

Interim Kent Cricket chief executive Ben Green has said the club could not stand in the way of new captain Sam Billings playing in the Indian Premier League.

Billings was appointed as captain in January but looks set to miss up to the first two months of the domestic season while he plays for Chennai Super Kings.

CEO Mr Green, 41, has said a player going to overseas tournaments is something all county clubs are having to deal with.

Sam Billings Picture: Andy Jones
Sam Billings Picture: Andy Jones

He added: “I can understand the frustrations of spectators and members but it is something that we would find very difficult if we stood in the way of players.

“It’s positive for him as a player and we will manage it but all county clubs are facing that challenge when things like the IPL and the Big Bash come along, it’s something cricket is going to have to continue to adapt to.

“It is part of the cricket environment now and if we stood in the way we just wouldn’t be able to keep players such as Sam Billings.”

Billings was bought by Chennai Super Kings during the IPL auction on Sunday for £110,000.

The IPL begins on April 4 with the final due to be played on May 31. Kent’s season begins with their first County Championship match on April 13 at home to Gloucestershire.

The 26-year-old will also play in the Pakistan Super League, between February 22 and March 25 for Islamabad United.

Mr Green has backed him as the best man to take the club forward. Billings was appointed skipper in place of Sam Northeast who has been given permission to speak to other clubs.

He said: “Sam was definitely the best captain, so in terms of captain of the club that was the right decision.

“It’s important the players are able to play other forms of cricket.

“It’s something we have talked about with Sam, Matt (coach Matt Walker) and Paul (director of cricket Paul Downton) about how we handle those periods and it’s clear those senior players step up.

“It is important there is consistency but we will make sure we don’t suffer too badly with Sam not being here.”

Billings has also responded to critics on social media who have questioned his commitment to Kent Cricket.

In response to one critic he tweeted: “I struggle with people questioning my commitment to the club as I’ve been involved at Kent since the age of 8. However I can understand the reaction of many Kent fans... but believe me the club is moving forward behind the scenes.”

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