Billings to stick with IPL
Billings to stick with IPL

Kent captain Sam Billings is staying in the IPL… for now at least and that decision has been backed by Head Coach, Matt Walker.

With the COVID crisis growing in India daily, there have already been some high-profile departures from the competition, but Kent coach Matt Walker has told KSN this week that his skipper isn’t coming home – yet!

“Of course, there are some concerns,” Walker told us. “It must really be an odd experience to say the least if you’re in the middle of it when you’re out there and there’s games of cricket going on around you.”

“We’ve all sadly seen the pictures from the funeral fires and the makeshift crematoriums – it’s really heart-breaking to watch and certainly a place that at the moment you wouldn’t want to be.”

“Sam’s alright – we speak regularly – and I know that he hasn’t played any games yet, but as the competition goes on, he’ll probably have to start thinking about what he’s going to do.”

“I know he’s enjoying his time learning from Ricky Ponting and a good bunch of guys and is working hard on his game and needs to get some games under his belt now as we want him to start playing some cricket before he comes back to us!”

“At the end of the day it will be Sam’s decision to stay or not. Paul Downton spoke to him a couple of days ago – a lot has happened quite quickly, and the decision has to be Sam’s.”

“We’re not going to drag anyone back unless we really feel that he’s in danger. They’re obviously being well looked after and going forward it will be a case of a constant dialogue with Sam making sure that he’s OK, offering our opinion if needed, talking things through with him as we would do with any player, but we won’t pull him out unless he wanted to come back and he’s seeing things first hand and his decisions and opinions on what’s going on might change pretty quickly over the next days as it sound like things are only going to get worse before they get better.”

“Sam knows the country and the IPL well, and he’ll make his decision if things get worse, but I’m not going to speak for him as it’s something that he will be thinking about, but I would imagine it’s a pretty tough experience being out there at the moment seeing this horror all around you!”

The Kent coach went on, “I guess the argument is that the IPL is giving people hope just as the Premier League did in this country and some comfort and respite away from the horrors that are going on twenty-four hours a day.”

“Cricket is such a big thing in India and is something that will hopefully give them something to take their minds off things. That said, it does seem surreal that with the dreadful situation going on and getting worse, there’s a multi-million-pound competition running at the same time.”

“It’s not for me to comment as I’m not there and making those decisions – I’m sure that Sam is OK and I think in the next week, we’ll see where he’s at with what’s going on.”

“He’ll be well informed I’m sure of how that they’re going to go about it, but I don’t know how the IPL operates, and it’s not for me to comment, but it is terrible what we’re watching on the news screens – I know there’s a lot of opinions flying around if the competition should be going on…”

“I’m sure the IPL are doing all they can and having lots of debate around the issues as I would, it’s at the forefront of their discussions and whatever your opinion on it – whether it’s right or wrong to be carrying on – it is their competition and although we have a player involved, it’s up to the IPL to make those decisions…”