Billings enjoying positive vibes

Published: Tuesday 23rd June 2015 by The News Editor

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Sam Billings hopes England’s thrilling encounters with New Zealand have set the tone for the forthcoming Ashes series.

The first part of England’s domestic summer has, in recent years, been viewed as a soft start ahead of the main event, but the Black Caps have proved enchanting tourists.

Their unflinching commitment to attacking cricket has brought out a new, dynamic side in England, in both the Test and one-day arena, creating a palpable buzz around the sport just in time for the arrival of Australia.

The Kiwis sign off their tour with a stand alone Twenty20 at Emirates Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, during which more fireworks can be expected to fly, but Billings wants the accumulated momentum to live on.

Many of the revamped limited-overs side will make way when the battle for the urn commences in Cardiff next month, Billings among them, but their efforts could still have an impact.

“Hopefully the series has generated a bit of interest around the country and got people behind the England cricket team going into the Ashes, which can only be a good thing,” said the 24-year-old.

“Hopefully the vibe around this team can be taken forward into the Ashes and the one-day series against Australia.

“A huge amount of credit must go to the Kiwis who are a fantastically good side in both formats. It has been a great month for cricket and a great advert for it.

“When you play a team like them you have to fight fire with fire and play an attacking brand of cricket or you will get left behind. That is what we’ve tried to do and we’ve enjoyed playing that brand. Every other team in the world that is how they play and that is the way we’ve played.

“The talent in the dressing room is undoubted. Historically we have been one of the power houses of cricket worldwide. In the last month we have just gone out and enjoyed our cricket.”

For Billings the record-shattering one-day series has proved an eye-opening introduction to the international game.

As a destructive wicketkeeper-batsman with Kent he has been utilised in a more low-key role by England, going in at number seven and seeing Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow taking the gloves ahead of him.

His best moment came at a critical time, scoring 41 in 30 balls in the series decider, but he has relished the entire adventure.

“It has been a phenomenal experience and one that I will remember for the rest of my life,” he said.

“It is a childhood dream and it’s what you get up every day for. It has been a great two weeks.

“At Edgbaston, my debut, I felt as if I had been hit by a bus to be honest… it was just an emotional roller coaster and the next thing you know you play around a straight one and the pads are off.

“But I think the longer this series has gone on has helped put things in perspective and helped me think ‘it’s just another game of cricket, do exactly what I have done for Kent and I’ll be fine’.”

Published: Tuesday 23rd June 2015 by The News Editor

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