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The two-time IPL winners Kolkata Knight Riders have suffered a massive blow ahead of next season’s tournament as star wicketkeeper-batter Sam Billings has withdrawn his name from IPL 2023 to focus on the longer format of the game in England’s county cricket. He made his decision public via a post on the microblogging site Twitter.
Sam Billings was roped in by KKR at the IPL 2022 mega auction for a base price of INR 2 crore earlier this year and featured for the side in eight matches, scoring 169 runs at an average of 24.14 with his highest score being 36. Despite an underwhelming outing in IPL 2022, Billings was expected to form the spine of the middle order along with skipper Shreyas Iyer and Nitish Rana.
However, the English cricketer has shifted his focus to red ball-cricket in hopes of securing a place in the national squad under the new regime of Brendon McCullum and skipper Ben Stokes. He will ply his trade in county cricket for Kent during the English summer in hopes of throwing his name into selection for the Test series against Pakistan.
“Have taken the tough decision that I won’t be taking part in the next IPL KKRiders. Looking to focus on longer-format cricket at the start of the English summer with Kent cricket.Thank you so much for the opportunity KKR! Loved every minute of it. An amazing franchise with some brilliant people. Hopefully, see you again in the future,” Billings wrote in a post via his Twitter handle.
He expressed his love for the Kolkata-based franchise in his tweet and hopes to return to the team in the future. He is currently seen as the backup to English wicketkeeper Ben Foakes but will hope to enhance his reputation in the upcoming English summer to secure a place in the Test side.