Billings defends decision to play in IPL amid backlash from Kent fans

Sam Billings Kent Indian Premier League IPL Chennai Super Kings cricket

Sam Billings: “People need to be aware that these opportunities do not come up often and you can’t afford to miss the IPL”

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Sam Billings was recently named Kent’s captain, but he has defended his decision to feature in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL).

Billings was bought by the Chennai Super Kings for his base price of 1 crore in the second round of the IPL auction. Since he will play in the tournament, he could miss the first two months of the county season, which has angered a number of Kent fans.

However, the England wicketkeeper-batsman insisted that playing in the IPL will help him develop as a player. He also made it clear that his decision to participate in the competition has nothing to do with money.

“The changing face of the world of cricket is moving rapidly and people need to be aware that these opportunities do not come up often and you can’t afford to miss the IPL,” Billings was quoted as saying by the Bournemouth Daily Echo. “If the Test captain is putting his name in the hat then surely people have to wake up and see ‘ok, maybe we need to take it on board’. It’s not just pyjama cricket and blokes wanting to chase the cash.

“I think the problem with people at the moment is that they have this idea of the IPL and these other tournaments but we wouldn’t be playing in them if they weren’t improving us a cricketers.

“I can say that with the last two years at Dehli I didn’t go there for monetary value, it’s being there to improve as a cricketer and getting the opportunity to play in front of 60,000 people.”

Billings also revealed that he and Kent had an understanding about the IPL auction.

“I’ve seen a lot of angry Kent fans. On social media you absolutely cop it, so it’s good to get a bit of clarity out there,” the 26-year-old said. “The agreement Kent and I had about the IPL six months ago – months before I’d even talked to anyone about the captaincy – was about what price point I was going to put myself at. There was an agreement that if I get picked up, brilliant, otherwise it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

“I was very open to not going. I wasn’t naive to the fact that I had guys like Shane Watson, Imran Tahir in my price bracket. I was very aware I might miss out.

“Captaincy is a huge thing and you have to be around most of the time. But I think we’ve got a really close bunch of players and support staff. Moving forward, everyone’s on the same page.”

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