Wed, Jun 24, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Billings keen to press Test claims against Australia

AFP, MANCHESTER, England

England’s Sam Billings is eager to show he is more than just a one-day player by starring for Kent in the first official match of Australia’s tour of England later this week.

The 24-year-old rising star featured in all five matches of the recent 3-2 one-day international series victory over New Zealand — his first taste of senior England cricket — and made a valuable 41 in Saturday’s decisive clash at Chester-le-Street.

He was set to feature in yesterday’s one-off Twenty20 international at Old Trafford, the final match of New Zealand’s tour.

However, the hard-hitting batsman, yet to don the gloves for England, although he keeps wicket for his county, is keen to prove his worth in a longer format when Kent welcome Australia to Canterbury for a four-day match starting tomorrow.

“Hopefully that will be a really good test, and a great opportunity for me personally and for the team,” Billings told reporters at Old Trafford on Monday.

Prior to his Test debut, England captain Alastair Cook made a name for himself by scoring a double century against Australia for Essex in a tour match at Chelmsford, east of London, in 2005.

However, Billings refused to get carried away by what lay ahead.

“Edgbaston, my [England] debut, I felt as if I had been hit by a bus to be honest. It was just an emotional roller coaster... I think the longer this series has gone on it has helped put things in perspective.”

As for his Test chances, Billings, speaking ahead of the Ashes opener in Cardiff starting on July 8, said: “The gulf between Test and one-day cricket has probably narrowed in the last few years … so you never know.”

England’s performances in a drawn Test series with New Zealand and the subsequent one-dayers have helped lift the gloom surrounding the side following their first-round exit at the Cricket World Cup earlier this year.

“Hopefully it has generated a bit of interest around the country and got people behind the England cricket team going into the Ashes. That can only be a good thing,” Billings said.

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