England's Billings has no regrets after ending red-ball cricket career

Sam Billings (left), pictured in action against <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:New Zealand;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">New Zealand</a> at Headingley (Lindsey Parnaby)
Sam Billings (left), pictured in action against New Zealand at Headingley (Lindsey Parnaby)

England Test cricketer Sam Billings says he will have no regrets when his Kent colleagues begin their County Championship campaign on Friday after he ended his red-ball career.

The wicketkeeper-batsman has quit the longer, first-class, format of the game and signed a white ball-only contract with Kent, cementing his status as a "gun for hire" in domestic limited-overs competitions around the world.

Billings, 32, accepts he will not be adding to his three Test caps but believes his decision will enable him to achieve a better work-life balance and maximise his earnings.

"The definition of a career is earning a living," Billings said at an event to launch the English domestic season at The Oval.

"At some point players have to make decisions based on that and cricket is moving in only one direction."

Billings captained Oval Invincibles to the title in the Hundred last year and has recently played for Brisbane Heat in Australia's Big Bash and Dubai Capitals in the International League T20.

"I know the franchise business is a pretty cut-throat world," he said. "You're a depreciating asset very quickly if you don't score the runs or take wickets.

"But I definitely won't wish I was out there when Kent play (Somerset) on Friday."

Billings said a congested schedule, as well as his struggles for Kent in 2023, had contributed to his decision.

With Jonny Bairstow and Ben Foakes vying for the wicketkeeping gloves for England's Test side, he cannot see a way back.

"There's just so much cricket that it's very tough for these multi-format players to persist with that," said Billings, whose three Test appearances came in 2022.

He added: "My decision would probably have been different if I thought I had a chance of playing Test cricket for England again. But something else would have to be sacrificed.

"I played three Tests but never really as first-choice. Only one wicketkeeper can play. It was exhausting, always trying without properly breaking through. That door has closed."