Billings keen to show abilities in Lions tri-series
Billings keen to show abilities in Lions tri-series

Kent’s Sam Billings is keen to cement a regular international spot with good performances for the England Lions, as their tri-series begins today.

Sam-Billings-T201

The England Lions, captained by Middlesex batsman Dawid Malan, play their first game of the 50-over tri-series against A-teams from both Pakistan and Sri Lanka today against the Pakistanis at Cheltenham. Both Billings and his Kent teammate Daniel Bell-Drummond are expected to feature in the side, with the Kent wicket-keeper one of only three in the squad with full international experience; the others being Hampshire’s Liam Dawson and Mark Wood, of Durham.

Speaking to KSN ahead of the series opener, Billings expressed his desire to showcase his abilities with both the bat and the gloves, and cement his place in England’s limited-overs sides.

“With the Lions over the winter, I topped the averages in the whole series, on both sides, so I’m hoping to emulate that kind of form”, the 25-year-old said.

“It’s been a bit of a patchy season, personally, but it’s a great opportunity to really state my claim. List A cricket is my strong point, so I’m looking to continue the form that I’ve had in that format for the last two years. There’s no reason why I can’t put in a good performance, and it’s great to have DBD there as well.

“I’ve kept once for England, and kept pretty well [in a T20 against Pakistan]. In the Lions, I’ve kept in all of the games over the winter as well. It’s a competitive spot at the moment, the wicket-keeping gloves, but I hope to stake my claim in that respect as well, and prove to people that I’m a top-quality gloveman.

“That’s the aim. I’ve been working hard on it, and I’ve just got to prove to everyone and take it game by game and produce.”

Sam-Billings-and-DBD3

Billings also paid tribute to teammate Bell-Drummond, whose stunning, unbeaten 112 helped the Kent Spitfires to victory over Surrey in Friday night’s T20 at Tunbridge Wells. It was the 22-year-old’s first century in the shortest format, and provided the perfect preparation for him on his return from injury before joining up with the Lions.

The Kent wicket-keeper also lauded the efforts of his skipper, Sam Northeast, whose batting efforts this season continue to see him near the top of the averages in all formats, but awaiting international recognition.

“In terms of a run chase, you look for blokes getting 70 or 80 plus, and then people can bat around”, Billings said.

“DBD – that was exceptional. It’s only a matter of time until he plays for England, in my opinion. He’s a seriously class act, and now he’s scoring runs in every format. He’s maturing at a rate of knots. They’re great signs for Kent, and obviously England as well.

“Also with the captain Sam Northeast playing another gem of an innings, he’s been in fantastic form as well. He’s pretty unlucky not to be in the Lions as well, Mr Northeast. I think it’s only a matter of time until he steps up.”

Lions squad

Dawid Malan (Middlesex, captain)
Daniel Bell-Drummond (Kent)
Ben Duckett (Northants)
Joe Clarke (Worcestershire)
Brett D’Oliveira (Worcestershire)
Sam Billings (Kent, wk)
Liam Livingstone (Lancashire)
Liam Dawson (Hampshire)
Tom Curran (Surrey)
Toby Roland-Jones (Middlesex)
Mark Wood (Durham)
Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire)
George Garton (Sussex)

Sam Curran (Surrey) * to join squad for last two matches only

Fixtures

Monday 18 July – Pakistan A v Sri Lanka A (Cheltenham)
Tuesday 19 July – England Lions v Pakistan A (Cheltenham)
Thursday 21 July – England Lions v Sri Lanka A (Northampton – day-night game)
Friday 22 July – Pakistan A v Sri Lanka A (Northampton)
Sunday 24 July – England Lions v Pakistan A (Canterbury)
Monday 25 July – England Lions v Sri Lanka A (Canterbury)

 


 
Seo