Billings aims to make most of England opportunity
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.