Samuel William Billings
June 15, 1991, Pembury, Kent
Right hand Bat
Sam Billings, an energetic and inventive wicketkeeper-batter with a penchant for the white-ball game, slots into a long line of illustrious Kent keepers including Les Ames, Godfrey Evans, Alan Knott and Geraint Jones. Billings is an all-round sportsman who turned down a football trial with Tottenham Hotspur to go on a cricket tour at county level, once woke up in an infirmary after being spear tackled in a rugby union game, achieved county junior level in tennis, and is highly adept at squash and racquets.
An innings of 143 off 113 balls against Derbyshire in Canterbury was the highlight of a promising 2012 season. Billings had also scored a century, for Loughborough MCCU, on his first-class debut, against Northants in 2011. As Kent's leading run-maker in T20 as well as the CB40 in 2012, he went on an ECB scholarship to Australia over the winter of 2012-13.
He replaced Geraint Jones as keeper at the start of Kent's 2014 Championship season and emphasised his 50-over potential in the Royal London One-Day Cup, becoming the leading run-scorer in the competition.
Billings made his international debut in the series against New Zealand in 2015 and played five ODIs and two T20Is without making a fifty but fit the design of a more high-energy England side under Eoin Morgan. His first international 50 came in a T20I against Pakistan in Dubai in November that year. It took him another seven years to make his Test debut, though.
In 2018, after the potentially disruptive departure of Sam Northeast, Billings led a rejuvenated Kent squad to their first promotion in 11 years and a Lord's final in the Royal London Cup. He also produced his first international century, in an ODI against Australia at Old Trafford. Injury kept him out of the squad for the World Cup the following year, though he had just made 87 in a T20I in the Caribbean and was in the running to replace Alex Hales in the national team. The year ended more encouragingly when he was named vice-captain of a new-look England T20I side for the tour of New Zealand - though he failed with the bat on that assignment, which meant he was left out of the side that went to South Africa at Christmas time.
Batting & Fielding