Sam Billings’ graduation to the Kent captaincy will revitalise his overdue England Test claims – according to teammate Darren Stevens.
Billings has this season taken over from the departed Sam Northeast as skipper at Canterbury but is yet to appear for the county this summer as his stint in the IPL with Chennai Super Kings reaches its conclusion.
The 26-year-old has appeared in 30 white-ball games for his country since his debut back in 2015 but is yet to break into the Test arena.
But in the week that saw Jos Buttler return to the five-day fold with England, Billings will not be far behind according to the 42-year-old Stevens.
“A little bit more responsibility will be good for him, he has grown as a person over the last three or four years,” said Stevens.
“I have known him since he was a little un and the way he has grown as a bloke is only going to help him with England.
“He realises that the next step for him is trying to cement a spot in the England side. It’s tough for him because there are so many players but that will be his aim.
“And hopefully he can get a few four-day runs and push for a Test spot as well because he is definitely good enough.
“Without a doubt I am surprised (that he has not played more for England). But the good thing is that he is still in that squad and gets called upon every now and again and when he does he tries to do his best.
“He has played some great innings for England, and I just think it is about consistency now. If he can keep that going and try and cement it, it will be a good for him.”
Billings has enjoyed a mixed time of things over in the IPL this year, kicking things off with a fantastic half century against KKR at the start of April.
Since then he has not passed 27 however and has found himself running the drinks on a couple of occasions – but Stevens is sure he will be a breath of fresh air on his return to Canterbury.
“Sam is full of ideas and energy, every time he comes back there is a lot of buzz around the lads,” he added.
“Even when he is away we have built a great culture here and when he comes back it is only going to get stronger.
“He has been with Chennai for the last eight weeks or so with maybe a couple more to come, so he is only going to bring back great ideas for us all to try.”
Royal London, proud sponsors of one-day cricket, celebrating unconventional greatness in the game by championing the independent spirit of players like Kent Spitfires’ Darren Stevens. The Royal London One-Day Cup returns on 17th May.