Sam Billings has been named vice-captain of the England side for the Twenty20 International series in New Zealand.
England and New Zealand are set to play five T20Is beginning November 1. The Eoin Morgan led side has senior wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow in the ranks, but Billings has been recognized 'as a developing leader'.
Billings called it a huge honour. "It's great to get some recognition and it's a huge honour," Billings told ESPNcricinfo. "It's a great opportunity to be recognised as a developing leader. And there's an element of personal development about it, too.
"I captained the England Lions last winter and my county for the last two years. Eoin gave me a call a couple of weeks ago and said he'd love me to do it. I suppose he must see something in me. I'm looking forward to learning form him and implanting what I've done at Kent.
"But I'm in the side as a batsman first and foremost and then as a keeper. You have to be able to perform at that top level consistently in those roles firstly. The captaincy is an added bonus and one I really enjoy. It makes you take responsibility for yourself and other guys."
Billings has had an up and down season; he scored a career-best 87 against West Indies earlier in the year before dislocating his shoulder and being ruled out of England's World Cup plans. He has been in superb form since comeback, scoring three centuries for Kent in the last two first-class matches in the county championship.
Billings said he wants to continue momentum with the national side.
"I've been on the fringes for the last four or five years. I've made some performances along the way, but we have such depth in our squad in terms of batsmen and keepers.
"The last innings I played was that 87 in the West Indies. But then I got injured and missed a lot of the year. So even though that innings in the West Indies was a long time ago, it's about continuing that momentum in an England shirt. For me, it's about enjoying it and it's good to be back playing. The injury has given me some perspective. I just have to make the most out of every opportunity. For me, as a player, my focus is on being in that T20 World Cup squad."
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