IPL 2023: Kent county's head coach Matt Walker happy as Sam Billings opts out of mega event
Sam Billings is the skipper of Kent County Cricket Club
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Kent County Cricket Club head coach Matthew Walker has expressed his pleasure over England cricketer Sam Billings' decision to pull out of the Indian Premier League 2023, in a bid to focus on first-class cricket.
For the unversed, Sam Billings is the captain of the Kent County Cricket team. He had been on franchise duties all-over the world, which propelled him to give a miss to majority of first-class cricket tournaments and his duties for Kent in England. Notably, Billings will be available for Kent throughout the early weeks of the country championship.
Furthermore, Sam Billings informed all his cricket fans through a tweet he posted on his Twitter handle on November 14. Have taken the tough decision that I won’t be taking part in the next IPL @KKRiders," he wrote.
"Looking to focus on longer format cricket at the start of the English summer with @kentcricket," Billings signed off.
Meanwhile, Matt Walker is a retired professional first-class cricketer who is serving as the head coach for Kent. Though, being a very promising player during his first-class tenure, he comes under the list of those players who never made it to playing or representing their country in international cricket.
It’s an enormous boost - Matt Walker pleased with Sam Billings returning to Kent
The former left-handed batter stated that it meant a lot for him and the Kent County Cricket Club that Sam Billings was willing to give full time to them. He said that the availability of the regular skipper in the squad is always a major boost and morale-uplifter for the team. The 31-year-old had done a pretty decent job for the team.“It’s an enormous boost, really. It’ll be really good for him to be here for the start of the season," the 49-year said while speaking to journalists for KentOnline.
However, Walker made it very clear that Billings' decision to pull out from the IPL 2023, scheduled to be played in India from March 31, was entirely his own. The wicketkeeper-batter was by no means cajoled or manipulated by anyone whatsoever to come up with this decision.
Rather, Walker was of the opinion that Billings' decision meant that he on his own part wanted to be with Kent. He perhaps realised his duties and the fact that he had missed out on a lot of recent Kent campaigns. He would want to start afresh right from the beginning of the County Championship this time.
“He made that decision and it was purely his own decision to stay and take himself out of the IPL. I think he wants to be here for the start and hit the ground running at the start of our domestic County Championship campaign. It gives more solidarity to the group that he’s here as the captain," the Kent head coach continued.
"He will be able to be around in pre-season and influence in the way that he does so well when he’s around. He’s going to do it from the start of the season, which gives everyone a bit more clarity and solidarity around the start of the year. I think it’s really good. He won’t be dipping in a few weeks into the season," Walker concluded.
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