Teams Played For
Kent, England, England Lions, Islamabad United, Delhi Capitals, Sydney Sixers, Durban Qalandars, Chennai Super Kings, World XI, Kandahar Knights, Bengal Tigers, Northern Warriors, Kolkata Knight Riders
Sam Billings was brought into the England side on the back of their 2015 World Cup debacle as England tried to play fearless cricket and revamp their style of cricket in the limited-overs format.
Billings is one of the fine modern wicket-keeper batsmen who have the ability to play the big shots and also maneuver singles and doubles in limited-overs matches. However, his technique is not at all suited for the red-ball format, and time and again he has been found wanting against the swinging Duke ball.
A trait which we generally don’t associate with wicket-keepers, Billings is a brilliant fielder which gives him a clear advantage in the limited-overs format. He has always scored freely in List A cricket and although he might not boast of a big average, his strike rate is certainly an area that tips him ahead of some of his contemporaries.
Having made his first-class debut across all formats in 2011, Billings has always been a limited-overs specialist barring a few knocks in the red-ball format here and there. The year 2012 proved to be a breakthrough year for him as he finished as the leading run-scorer in the Pro40 League and T20s. However, it was his consistent performances in the Royal London One Day Cup in 2014 which made the selectors take notice.
England decided to change the dynamics of the limited-overs team after their horrendous 2015 World Cup and Billings was part of their future plans. However, due to a huge pool of players like Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, Billings had to remain content in the benches and got his opportunity when any of them got injured or rested. Primarily a middle-order batsman, Billings was forced to open the innings for England on a few occasions in the limited-overs format. However he never really managed to cement his place in the side.
Billings made his maiden international century against Australia in 2020 after the COVID-19 break and impressed one and all with his attacking stroke play. He is an excellent striker of the ball, and he is an Outstanding batsman against spin. Due to his hard-hitting batting abilities, Billings has been a red-hot choice in T20 leagues across the world.
Billings was bought by the Chennai Super Kings ahead of the 2018 edition after being part of the Delhi Daredevils for a couple of seasons. He made an immediate impact for CSK in the 2018 IPL when he scored a match-winning 56 off 23 deliveries against KKR in a difficult situation. Apart from that, he had a rather disappointing tournament scoring just 108 runs in 10 matches, and did not play in the final as CSK won the prestigious title.
His recent exploits in the BBL 2021 for the Sydney Thunders grabbed a lot of attention in the auctions ahead of IPL 2021. Released from the CSK’s squad Sam Billings was bought again by the Delhi Capitals for his base price of INR 2 crore.
For one of the most exciting T20 batsmen in the modern era, it would be a rather difficult task to break into the playing XI but with his athletic frame and inventiveness, he can still prove to be a dominator down the batting order if he gets any opportunity.
With Buttler and Bairstow expected to don the keeping gloves for the next few years, the main challenge for Billings remains to be part of the XI as a pure batsman. Given his exceptional fielding abilities and playing the role of a back-up wicket-keeper, Billings is expected to remain on the selection radar at least for the next few years.