Billings aims to make most of Eng­land op­por­tu­nity

Cricket

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sport -

Sam Billings has backed him­self to rise to the chal­lenges ahead as he bids to se­cure his place in Eng­land’s lim­ited overs side. On Tues­day, the 24-year-old was named in the Eng­land One-Day and T20 squads for Novem­ber’s trip to the UAE to take on Pak­istan. The Kent wick­et­keeper­bats­man kept his place in the 15-man party de­spite see­ing the field just once in the white-ball se­ries with Aus­tralia. Billings scored 90 runs in four ODIs against New Zealand in June – in­clud­ing 41 from 30 balls at Durham – then hit 21 in the T20 against the Ki­wis at Old Traf­ford later that month. How­ever, de­spite keep­ing his place in the squad for the past month’s T20 and ODI se­ries against Aus­tralia, Billings’ in­volve­ment was lim­ited to scor­ing two in the nar­row T20 win at Cardiff on Au­gust 31. He was left on the side­lines for the sub­se­quent five one-day­ers, which Eng­land lost 3-2. Billings said: “It was good to be a part of the squad, although it was a dis­ap­point­ing end to the se­ries at Old Traf­ford. “It was just a bit of a shame af­ter the New Zealand se­ries – I was happy with how I went in that se­ries and not to get an op­por­tu­nity this time was a bit of a shame. “But you can see the think­ing be­hind it, in terms of need­ing the sixth bowler with­out Joe Root there. It was to­tally un­der­stand­able, it’s just one of those things. “It’s nice to be in the mix for the UAE and hope­fully I’ll get an op­por­tu­nity there.” He added: “You have to keep work­ing hard, keep your head down and when you get the op­por­tu­nity be ready to grasp it with both hands. “Just hav­ing two weeks in that dress­ing room, you learn a lot, even when you’re not play­ing you’re still prac­tis­ing with and against the best, so in that re­spect, you still feel your game is con­stantly im­prov­ing.” Eng­land will play four ODIs and three T20s against Pak­istan with the first one­day warm-up match in Abu Dhabi on Novem­ber 8.

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