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Kent captain Sam Billings delighted by squad depth ahead of 2020 campaign

Skipper Sam Billings believes Kent are closing in on the squad depth they require in order compete across all fronts.

The 28-year-old echoed the words of head coach Matt Walker in tipping Kent to mount a serious challenge for all three trophies moving forward.

Having again asserted themselves as white-ball contenders, Kent also left their mark in Division 1 with a fourth-placed finish – just four points behind Hampshire in third spot.

Kent captain Sam Billings. Picture: Ady Kerry
Kent captain Sam Billings. Picture: Ady Kerry

Speaking at Kent’s awards night, Billings said: “We had a chat as a group.

“You look around our dressing room at the moment and it’s probably the first time in a very long time at the club when we’ve got a lot of depth in every single position.

“You look at Somerset and Essex, if you’re going to perform in all formats you have to have that depth.

“Certainly over the last few years we’ve looked to build that. It’s about us transforming that potential into performances.

“We aren’t far away and that’s the frustration.

“We can learn from the women’s disappointment last year, we’re feeling it this year, why can’t we take their lead and go on and win some silverware?

“We’ve got the right people in the dressing room to do that.”

Billings himself finished the campaign in sparkling form, hitting centuries in three successive innings against Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire.

His late flurry followed up a frustrating individual season in which he had been sidelined after dislocating his shoulder five balls into his first game since returning from the IPL back in April.

“There’s a bit of a story, I’m going to make Mitch Claydon feel even worse,” he said.

“It was the first game back from the IPL and he came up to me and said ‘we’ve had four captains this year and not a single one has made it through the game, so just make it through the game’.

“Five minutes later I’m on the floor screaming and he’s crying his eyes out.”

Kent skipper Sam Billings is out lbw to Essex's Sam Cook in his first Championship game of the season since his shoulder injury
Kent skipper Sam Billings is out lbw to Essex's Sam Cook in his first Championship game of the season since his shoulder injury

While delighted with Kent’s display upon their return to Division 1, Billings admits fourth place may well have been higher had it not been for costly sessions throughout the season.

It’s for those inperfections that he is confident Kent can push on further come 2020.

He added: “It’s an amazing achievement.

“A lot has been said about surviving but that’s not the mentality we have as a group at all.

“Of course, it’s our first year back in Division 1 but we’ve shown signs that we can look up and not down.

“We’ve finished fourth, if you’d have said to the group at the beginning of the year that we’re looking at a third-place play-off potentially I’d have thought that would be a huge accomplishment.

“It wasn’t to be, though. There were little moments throughout the season, both in the County Championship and T20, that we’ll look back on as a group and be very disappointed about.

“The two games here where little lapses in concentration against Somerset and Essex really cost us.

“Who knows? If we win those two games maybe we could have been closer to a County Championship.”

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