England keeper-batter Sam Billings has revealed how things took a turn in Australia before he flew from Brisbane Airport to prepare for the T20 series in the West Indies. The limited-overs specialist stated he arranged a rental car to join England's Test squad in Sydney.
The England camp added Sam Billings as Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow remain doubtful for the final Test due to injuries. Hence, a Test debut in Hobart looms large for the Kent cricketer. Billings, who notably drove 500 miles from the Gold Coast to Sydney, had featured for the Sydney Thunder in the BBL.
Speaking to the BBC Test Match Special, the 30-year-old said he was in disbelief when he received a call to join the Test squad. Billings explained that if selected to play the final Test, he is prepared. He said:
"I thought it was a joke. I was due to go to Brisbane airport to fly home. Instead, I went to Gold Coast Airport to pick up a rental car and I was on my way. It would be a very Sam Billings thing to do, to drive nine hours to run the drinks. At the age of 30, you're no spring chicken but you do have a really good idea of where your game is at. If needed, I'm ready to go."
Given he has always been a backup player, Billings has done well for England in white-ball cricket. The 30-year-old has also been in terrific form in the ongoing BBL season and is amongst the top five run-getters. In nine matches, Billings has scored 284 runs at 40.57 with two fifties to his name.
"I want to prove not only to myself but also to other people that I'm not just a fill-in" - Sam Billings
Billings claimed he is eager to prove to everyone that he belongs at this level and wants to do more than run drinks. Intending to carry his confidence out of the BBL, he said:
"I want to prove, not only to myself but also to other people, that I'm not just a fill-in that I am good enough to warrant a place in the side. If that opportunity does arise, I've got no pressure on me. It's something no one really expected and I've got nothing to lose."
"That's a great place to be and sometimes when you play your best cricket. I've been playing a lot of cricket out here, I know not in the same format but you get confidence from game time and that is what I've had."
The keeper-batter will join the squad in an attempt to save the fourth Ashes Test in Sydney. England, chasing an unlikely 388, need a resolute batting performance on the final day to avoid a 4-0 result in the series.