In just the matter of a short span of time, Sam Billings has already impressed with his emphatic performances for England and is bound to excel further in the near future. The destructive right-hander, who can also double up as a wicketkeeper, has played just 8 ODI’s but has shown signs that he is their man for the future. That was evident with a solid half-century in Antigua during the first ODI against the West Indies.
Billings’ journey so far, though, has been far from an easy one. With England opting to play three all-rounders usually in their ODI XI, Billings hasn’t been able to hold on to a permanent spot. It was only in regular opener Alex Hales’ absence when Billings got a chance. The 25-year-old impressed everyone with a fluent half-century in Bangladesh, and now made another healthy contribution at Antigua.
The talented batsman recently admitted that he wanted to cement his spot in the England side. “I can’t really afford to think about Hales,” Billings said. “He’s been in fantastic form over the past year and he’s a fantastic player. It’s a credit to the squad that we have that depth.”
“It’s professional sport and it’s good for the side that there’s so much competition. But as an individual, I’ve really got to make these chances count. I have to really make it count and make three figures. I definitely feel like I’m in a good place to do that. “Of course it’s frustrating. I got one game in Bangladesh and I made 65. If I’d made 100 I would have really pressed my claim,” he added.
Billings added that batting early on wasn’t’ too easy in the Caribbean with the ball not coming on smoothly. “You look at anyone who got runs and they started off pretty slowly, then built,” Billings said. “We were joking when we were out there. We really couldn’t hit the ball off the square to start with. That may be the way of it here. It’s a bit old-fashioned. You have to keep wickets in hand and really make hay towards the back end.”