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Kent Cricket captain Sam Billings is confident the current squad can challenge for trophies

Kent captain Sam Billings believes the current squad have silverware potential.

Billings replaced Sam Northeast as Kent captain in 2018 and says he is excited to be leading the current crop.

Kent Cricket captain Sam Billings during their Royal London Cup semi-final at New Road, Worcester last year Picture: Ady Kerry
Kent Cricket captain Sam Billings during their Royal London Cup semi-final at New Road, Worcester last year Picture: Ady Kerry

Kent are currently awaiting news of when play can return, with the ECB saying no domestic cricket will be played until August, at the earliest.

Speaking during Kent Cricket’s Spitfire Sessions on Monday, 29-year-old Billings said: “It’s a really exciting time to be involved at Kent, not only for the players, but you see (head coach) Matthew Walker stepping up to international honours as well.

“We have the two guys in the Test team, two guys in the England Lions and two under-19s. Quality is coming through and we’re cultivating a culture that is international level, something we are really keen on and something that is really important.

“I think you need a group of players going in the same direction to get the most out of each other. We have got a really good bunch at the moment and a very talented group as well.

“Hopefully we have got the ability to push on and win some trophies. We have not been far away and the aspect around recruitment of domestic players and also overseas players has to buy into this culture.

“It is a really exciting place to be and the next step is to kick on and get some silverware. I don’t think we are far away. It is a matter of doing things consistently well and holding each other accountable, getting better every single day.

“It sounds far easier but this has been a really good time to reflect and look at areas where we need to push on when we get an opportunity.”

Kent’s international players Zak Crawley and Joe Denly could see some action soon. They were due to start training with England this week as part of a 30-strong squad in preparation for the first Test against West Indies, which starts on Wednesday, July 8.

Sam Billings at the Royal London Cup Final, Lord's Cricket Ground in 2018 Picture Ady Kerry
Sam Billings at the Royal London Cup Final, Lord's Cricket Ground in 2018 Picture Ady Kerry

On Wednesday (July 1) they will participate in a three-day practice match ahead of the squad for the first Test being selected.

“We want to continue to produce England cricketers,” said Billings, who is part of a larger group of players being asked to train by the ECB.

“Zak is a fantastic batsman but also a brilliant young bloke, he absolutely sets an example on and off the field in terms of what he offers to the dressing room. He sets a brilliant example to the younger guys and his peers and it is great to see him move up the ranks.”

This week’s Kent webinar included former captain Rob Key who was asked about his health. Back in May an MRI scan revealed he had suffered a mini-stroke.

“It’s been an interesting month but everything seems to be going alright now,” said the 41-year-old cricket pundit who has also just released a book, titled ‘Oi, Key, Tales of a Journeyman Cricketer.’

Answering a range of questions, Key spoke of his time captaining the county side and said: “I enjoyed the man management and enjoyed trying to plan and work out how to create a great era of Kent cricket. That part was great fun but I could never mix the part of my own game of being a batsman.

“I was a much better player when I wasn’t captain and ended up doing it for far too long but I am proud of hanging in there when we got into rocky waters with financial issues and it’s nice to see the (younger players) coming through the way they have done.”

Billings, one of those to emerge during Key’s time as captain, doesn’t think there has been a negative impact on his own game since taking on the role.

He said: “It was never an ambition to be captain but it’s one I have thoroughly enjoyed since taking it on.

“Time will tell about performances. Hopefully I can continue to perform the way I have since I have had the captaincy.

“I feel as if it has helped my game, making sure I’m focussed to give myself enough time to worry about my own game and separate the two. So far I have really enjoyed it and I am very lucky we have a great bunch of players at the moment.”

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