Billings answers England's call with trek across Australia

back icon
safari
10 Jan 2022 | 04:12 PM
authorPTI

Billings answers England's call with trek across Australia

With injuries to Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, England have roped in Billings in the squad for the Hobart Test

Sam Billings was on the Gold Coast and preparing to get on a plane back to Britain when he received a call. He was needed by England's beleaguered Ashes team.

Billings, an explosive white-ball cricketer, had been in Australia playing in the Twenty20 Big Bash League with Sydney Thunder. Now he might be in line to make his test debut in the series-closing match in Hobart next week.

"I was probably 90 minutes to two hours away from getting on that plane back to the U.K. It all happened pretty quickly," Billings said.

"I went to the airport, got the rental car and cracked on, basically. It's been a bit of a whirlwind," he added. 

With flights deemed too risky because of COVID-19, Billings first had to complete a 12-hour journey from the Gold Coast, followed by a strict quarantine and testing process at England's base in Sydney.

It was from there, on a TV in his hotel room, that he followed the conclusion to the fourth Ashes test which saw England hold out for a draw in a dramatic final few hours of the match.

With first-choice wicketkeeper Jos Buttler ruled out of the fifth test because of a broken finger he will be flying home and a potential replacement for the gloves, Jonny Bairstow, carrying a thumb injury, Billings could go straight into the team.

Another alternative is Ollie Pope, who was a substitute wicketkeeper in Sydney because of Buttler's injury and took four catches.

Billings has played more short-form cricket in the past few years, managing just four matches for Kent in last year's County Championship. At 30, though, he has more than a decade of first-class experience under his belt and has been playing on Australian pitches recently.

"Regardless of the format, regardless of circumstances, with experience and maturity you can get a sense of where your game is at, he said. I've been playing and scoring runs. I'm 100% ready if required," Billings said.

"It doesn't really matter what format it is, it's more about rhythm, confidence and mindset. As a player you look where your opportunities may lie to progress your career...for me it has always been with the white-ball side so far. But this has been on the radar, it's something I've really wanted to do."

Billings said he has received assurances that his emergency call-up will not affect his chances of featuring in England's three-match Twenty20 series against the West Indies this month.

"I had a few moments on my own in my hotel room and weighed it up, of course. I've done way too much running the drinks," he said.

I just need to play cricket. I wasn't going to compromise that opportunity in the West Indies but of course I will always help and offer anything I can to the England team.

England is 3-0 down and has already lost the Ashes series.

heart
shareGray Share
Tags
Australia vs EnglandEngland tour of Australia, 2021/22EnglandSam Billings

Related Articles

safari
NEWS
Development of our game is more important than a series win: Morgan
England will be without some of their key players in the five-match T20I series against West Indies
usercricket.com staff
22 Jan 2022
safari
ANALYSIS
England aim to build on fight shown in Sydney but with different personnel
It is a historic Test match for the venue, Hobart which will be hosting its first Ashes Test
userShubh Aggarwal
13 Jan 2022
safari
NEWS
Harry Brook added to England’s T20I squad for West Indies tour
The 22-year-old has been called-up to the squad as a cover for Sam Billings
usercricket.com staff
11 Jan 2022
safari
NEWS
Sam Billings re-signs with Sydney Thunder for BBL 11
The wicket-keeper batsman joins fellow Englishman Alex Hales at the franchise
usercricket.com staff
07 Sep 2021
safari
NEWS
Woakes returns to the England squad; Billings replaces Buttler
Jos Buttler will miss the Test with his wife expecting their second child
usercricket.com staff
29 Aug 2021
safari
REPORT
Sam Billings' 49 sets up Oval Invincibles' 9-run win over Manchester Originals
Carlos Brathwaite scored 37 off 29 for the Originals, but he was dismissed at a crucial juncture in the opening match of the men's 'The Hundred'
userAFP
23 Jul 2021
safari
NEWS
My game has improved a lot since I last played for Delhi: Billings
The England batsman, who was part of the Delhi franchise in 2016 and 2017, was bought by the Capitals for his base price of INR 2 crore
userPTI
02 Apr 2021
safari
NEWS
Morgan to miss India ODIs due to injury; Buttler to lead
Liam Livingstone is set to make his ODI debut in the second game of the series on Friday (March 26)
userCricket.com Staff
25 Mar 2021
safari
NEWS
Morgan, Billings doubtful for second ODI vs India
Down 0-1, the world champions face a must-win situation in the second of the three ODIs on Friday (March 26).
userPTI
24 Mar 2021
safari
NEWS
IPL will help in T20 World Cup preparation, says Billings
The 29-year-old was bought by Delhi Capitals for Rs 2 crore at the mini-auction last month
userPTI
10 Mar 2021
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved