Sam Billings is set for an unexpected Test debut in next week’s Ashes final after a ‘whirlwind’ call-up that saw him swap a flight to England for a 500-mile road trip.
Billings was playing a major role in the Big Bash League in Australia with the Sydney Thunder, but when he was asked to join the Test squad, he was less than two hours away from boarding a plane.
Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler was ruled out of a series-ending clash in Hobart next week after suffering a broken finger and Jonny Bairstow suffering a thumb injury, having to take off Billings gloves and head straight into the Test arena from the Twenty20 circuit. are ready. ,
With flights very risky given the current Covid-19 sweep down under, they had to first travel 12 hours from the Gold Coast, followed by a strict quarantine and testing process based in Sydney in England.
This meant that he watched the conclusion of England’s fourth draw on his hotel TV, knowing that he could soon join the fray.
Jos Buttler will miss the fifth and final Ashes Test in Hobart with a finger injury, England captain Joe Root has confirmed
“It was a bit of a roller coaster. I was probably 90 minutes to two hours away from getting that plane back to the UK. It all happened very quickly,” he said.
“I went to the airport, got the rental car and basically broke down. It was a little tornado. For the first 24 hours I didn’t hear anything or see anyone, I’m sure I’ll find out later this week whether I play
“I’m really looking forward to it. Whichever team I go to, I’ll try to make a positive impact on and off the pitch, and add to whatever environment I’m placed in. We’ll have to wait and see.” Will test cap come or not. »
Olly Pope’s strong performance as a backup goaltender at SCG – he took four catches after being pushed into a short-term role – means Billings’ game on Thursday is not guaranteed, but if he gets the green light, The Kent player will not be disappointed.
Billings scored a 35-ball 67 against the Perth Scorchers during his successful stint with the Sydney Thunder
He has played more short-form cricket in recent years, managing only four outings for Kent in last year’s LV=Insurance County Championship – but at age 30 he has a ton of first-class experience under his belt. There’s more to the decade.
Add to this the limited number of 58 internationals and his recent work at Australia’s BBL ground and he feels capable of a smooth transition to the five-day game.
“Whatever the format, whatever the conditions, with experience and maturity you can understand where your game is,” he said.
“I played and scored points. I am 100% ready when needed. Format doesn’t really matter, it’s more about pace, confidence and mindset. As a player you see where your chances are. Advancing my career… For me it has always been on the white ball side so far.
“But it’s on the radar, it’s something I really wanted to do.”
South Africa vs India
11 January 2022, 7:30 am.
Despite this, Billings had to think about his position when he was asked to include injury coverage.
He was already part of the Twenty20 squad that will play a three-match series against the West Indies later this month and did not want to miss the opportunity for the men’s 12th role in Tasmania, with Covid travel restrictions.
“I spent a few moments alone in my hotel room and of course I had a good weight. I downed the drinks too much,” he said.
“I just need to play cricket. I wasn’t going to jeopardize this opportunity in the West Indies, but of course I will always offer and help for the England team.
“I think I had assurance that I would reach West Indies too, whether I get a chance or not.”
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