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Sam Billings blames himself for white-ball typecasting

Billings white-ball
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

England wicketkeeper-batsman Sam Billings said he had only himself to blame for being typecast as a white-ball player, and has reiterated his Test ambitions.

Uncapped in Tests, Billings last played an ODI in 2018, while his last T2oI appearance came in November last year. After being omitted from the white-ball squads for this year’s South Africa tour, he decided to withdraw from all franchise cricket in the lead up to the 2020 season with Kent, before the coronavirus crisis delayed the season.

“There’s no one else to blame apart from me really for that [white-ball typecasting],” Billings told ESPNcricinfo.

“I played four IPLs and you’re not going to turn down an opportunity like that as a young player in terms of a chance to develop – especially as there was no financial gain in the first two years. For me, I saw it purely as an opportunity as I went for base price to Delhi [INR 30 lakh in 2016].

“Obviously four-day cricket had to take a back seat at that point in time and I just didn’t play anywhere near enough cricket. That’s where my mindset has changed a little bit.

“The back end of last year proved to myself more than anyone that I can be more than just an average first-class cricketer or quite a good first-class cricketer. That can be as strong a format as any. But it was only when I really proved it to myself last year that that came back to the forefront of my mind.”

Now part of England’s 55-man training group, Billings aims to wriggle his way into the Test team too, despite a three-way competition for the wicketkeeping gloves between Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, and Ben Foakes.

“I think there are opportunities in the Test team as well, especially as a batter and also in the wicketkeeping position,” Billings said. “I find that really exciting. I don’t want to just be pigeonholed as a white-ball player. I’m better than that.”

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