Sam Billings will step up to the Kent captaincy in 2018 and he shared his thoughts from Australia where he is part of the England squad playing Down Under in a one-day series.
What are your thoughts about being appointed Kent captain?
I’m incredibly proud and excited. I had the opportunity to lead the side against the West Indies last summer and it was one I throughly enjoyed.
I’ve been at the club since I was eight years old and it’s an exciting group of players and lads.
It’s been great to see Daniel Bell-Drummond and Joe Denly playing in overseas leagues this winter and we’ll be looking to continue progressing as individuals and as a team.
I’m sure there will be challenges but I’m very excited by the proposition.
What will you bring to the role?
Energy, enthusiasm and positivity. Playing around the world for England and in different T20 competitions, I’ve worked with lots of different players and coaches and learnt a lot.
I’ll hope to implement some of those ideas to the job. We can’t reinvent the wheel but we’re looking forward to pushing ourselves and the team forward.
Will it be a challenge balancing your England ambitions and involvement in overseas T20 competitions?
I feel I can make a real impact on the club and ultimately, my cricket has improved because of those experiences.
Captaincy is a role on and off the pitch but I know I will be well supported with Matt Walker, the new director of cricket and senior players who have lots of knowledge and experience that we can draw on.
Ultimately, successful teams need players who can think for themselves so the leadership comes from within.
We want players to develop their skills. Everyone, myself included, has that burning ambition to play for their country and we’d never stand in the way of that.
Is the news bittersweet with Sam Northeast requesting to talk to other clubs?
Yes. Sam is a great player and has been at the club since an early age.
Ultimately as a squad, whatever happens we hope it gets resolved quickly and we would wish him all the best if he decides to move on.
We have to move forward and the squad is fully focussed is on the FGS Plant Tour and our preparations for the season.
With the imminent arrival of Allan Donald as assistant coach and Paul Downton as director of cricket, does this mark a new dawn for the club?
Yes. We already have some great people at the club but it’s always good to have new ideas and energy.
I grew up watching Allan Donald and it’ll be great to have his passion, knowledge and experience to complement Matt Walker.
The director of cricket is another step forward and we’ll be working with Paul to strengthen the squad to bring new energy, quality and competition to the ranks.
It’ll be a clean slate for the current squad to stake their claim for a spot.
What are your aims?
Earning promotion and winning trophies is the aim for every captain.
I’m an ambitious and motivated bloke but so are the rest of the squad. It’s an opportunity to a fresh start and give players the confidence and freedom to play individually and also muck in as a group.
You’re currently in Australia with England. How is the tour going?
The Ashes series was very disappointing but the ODI group is showing what we are capable of.
It’s a huge honour to be involved with England. I feel well prepared after my spell at Sydney Sixers and I’ll be ready when an opportunity arrives.