England professional right-handed batsman and who fields as wicketkeeper Sam Billings said that during six-week IPL period, working with Rahul Dravid for Delhi Daredevils helped him to improve his footwork against spin bowling.
Billings smashed a match-winning 93 to lead England to a three-wicket triumph in a warm-up match against India A forward of the limited overs series against the hosts. The event also saw MS Dhoni leading an India side for one last time.
The 25-years-old said that “It’s (IPL stint) definitely going to help (in the upcoming series). My footwork against spin improved just in the six weeks here working with Rahul Dravid, one of the best players ever to play the game. It’s an amazing experience and one I would like to have again. Spin is to play a massive part, (Ravichandran) Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja are the best in the world as well; we have got quite a few guys with lots of experience over here now.”
Billings expressed that MS Dhoni a hero batsman not only in India but all over the country; he said “He’s a hero around India and the world. What a great career he has had just as a captain! Showed today that plenty of cricket is left in him, didn’t he?”
MS Dhoni has declared that he was stepping down as a captaincy from the ODI and T20I series to cover the way for Test skipper Virat Kohli to take over in all three formats.
Billings said that a great crowd for a warm-up game, he said “It was great to have such a great crowd for a warm up game. It makes it far more realistic and competitive. If it was a completely empty stadium, playing against Mahendra Singh Dhoni, we should have been playing on a Maidan! At the end of the day, you would have a crowd whether it’s IPL or Big Bash (in Australia).”
Billings said about his own innings “We lost a couple of wickets every time I started to get going. I had to tone it down. With those fine sweeps I just trying to disturb the bowler and the fields they had. It was not the most fluent innings, but it was just about getting used to these pitches which are very different from Australia where I have just come from (after a stint in BBL).”
Billings concluded his words saying that it is not a guaranteed pick with Joe Root and Ben Stokes ready to return for the first ODI at Pune, “Every time I go out to bat I try to do the best I can. I just try to show people what I can do and score as many runs as I can. It’s a great thing for English cricket, Joe Root coming back into the side, Ben Stokes coming back into the side – two of the best in the world.”
Joe Root is one of the best batsmen in the world, among top three. We have a really strong side from one to 11. We have Liam Plunkett and Jonny Bairstow sitting out. You can’t afford to be disappointed or feel sorry for yourself – it’s professional sport. I’m going to work as hard as I can on all aspects of my game.”
“I’m just trying to offer as many options as I can, whether it’s with the gloves, with the bat, opening the batting or at six or seven and finishing off an innings.”