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Kent head coach Matt Walker explains club captain Sam Billings’ exclusion from squad for away County Championship Division 1 match against Somerset at Taunton

Head coach Matt Walker has explained why club captain Sam Billings has been left out of Kent’s final away County Championship Division 1 squad this season.

Wicketkeeper Billings returned to relegation-threatened Kent’s 14-man squad for their drawn four-day game against Nottinghamshire in Canterbury last week but didn’t play as Jack Leaning captained the side and Harry Finch retained the gloves.

The 32-year-old also won’t be involved at Taunton, with Kent’s game against Somerset starting from today.

He stepped down as Kent red-ball skipper in June but led Oval Invincibles to glory in The Hundred competition last month.

On Billings’ absence, Walker said: “It’s really important that everyone was around in the build-up to the last three games.

“Obviously, Sam is still captain of the club. Although he’s not the captain of the four-day stuff, he’s still captain of the club and still wanted to be around to help the group, offering his experiences and just his presence, really. So he was in the wider squad.

“But last week, we felt, with Zak [Crawley] back, and Finchy having played really well behind the stumps, there wasn’t really room for Sam to come in. It’s the same this week.

“He’s struggled a bit in red-ball cricket this season and stepped away from the captaincy. I think it’s the right decision. It’s been a long time since he’s hit a red ball.

“We had to go with what he thought was the best team to win this game of cricket and it was the same last week.

“It’s great Sam has still been around. He’s been brilliant with Finchy, helping him with his keeping, and being around the group.

“Everybody has a role to play in these last three games - whether you’re playing, around practice or carrying drinks. It’s really important that