Published: 06:00, 08 January 2021
By Richard Harvey
Joe Denly admits there was no way he was going to 'sledge' Sam Billings when the two Kent team-mates came face-to-face in Australia's Big Bash League earlier this week.
He knew his county captain would love it if he tried to get into his ear when Billings came out to bat for Sydney Thunder against Brisbane Heat at The Gabba.
So did he try it? "No, not a chance," laughed Denly, who was making his second appearance for the Heat.
"I think he likes that engagement and it really gets him going, so I didn't want him to get too many against us."
The Thunder batted first and Billings made 22, an innings which included a massive six into the top tier of the ground.
The TV commentators raved about the shot, but Denly said it wasn't that big... really.
"That was the shorter boundary, so I have seen him hit bigger for Kent and England," said Denly.
"Saying that, I don't think he got all of it either, which is scary!
"Bilbo is in fine form and I am sure he will be a big hit for the Thunder."
Brisbane chased down the Thunder's 174-8 with five wickets and five balls to spare.
Denly scored 50 before being stumped by Billings off the bowling of leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha.
He said he knew he was out as soon as he'd missed the ball.
"You should never leave your crease with Bilbo behind the stumps!"
Denly said it was certainly different playing against Billings, someone he's been a team-mate with for so long now.
"I don't know if it was the first time I have played against him as I may have done during my time at Middlesex," he added.
"It was a little strange, but it was good fun and great to catch up with him.
"At the end of the day I think ultimately we want each other to do well regardless if we are on opposing teams."
During his innings, Denly also faced the bowling of former Kent team-mate, and New Zealand paceman, Adam Milne.
He described the experience as 'fun'.
"When facing pace like what Milney has, it certainly wakes you up and gets the adrenaline pumping," he smiled.
"I really hope we see him back at Kent one day – he's a great team man!"