England all-rounder Sam Billings, who has batted brilliantly against Ireland and Australia, has admitted that he is unlikely to remain in the ODI squad following the return of star player Ben Stokes. Billings set his foot on the field when England was struggling at 57-4 and had to chase a target of 295 runs. Jonny Bairstow was struggling at the other end and it was looking difficult to chase that target. But Billings and Bairstow stuck around to get through that situation and eventually made England believe that they could win.
The 29-year-old batsman smashed 118 runs in the first ODI against Australia and took the match to the last over. But they eventually lost by 19 runs.
Despite his century against England, Billings admits that he still would not be able to maintain his place as number five batsman due to the presence of Ben Stokes.
Billings was there in the ODI squad for the series against Ireland after an injury to Joe Denly last month. He then scored an unbeaten 67 which was his best score at the time. Stokes, who played a key role in making England the world champion, is currently in New Zealand with his family. He is set to return to Eoin Morgan’s team. Billings said that he could lose his place in the playing eleven after Stokes’ arrival.
“Ben Stokes isn’t here and I don’t think, however many runs I get, that I’ll keep that spot. All I can do is stake a claim. Especially building towards the T20 stuff. There is a slot in that late-to-middle order. Hopefully, this will keep pushing my case in that format. Loss of form and injury – as I found out the hard way – can happen. As long as you are putting yourself in the right position to be the next cab off the rank, you never know when these opportunities will arise,” ESPNCricinfo quoted Billings as saying.
England was chasing 295 in the first ODI against Australia. Team England was struggling at 57-4 when Billings set his foot on the field. Jonny Bairstow was already struggling at another side. Later, the duo formed a partnership of 113 runs, and Billings got going tough during the course as he was slow to get off the blocks.
“Australia reminded me I was 11 of 32 pretty consistently. At that point in time, we had zero chance. I felt terrible as well. I wasn’t fluent at all. But then you look at the other end and Jonny is struggling as well and he’s one of the most fluent openers in world cricket. No one got going,” Billings said.
“But you could see Australia’s mindset definitely change when we started to get that partnership going. The energy all of a sudden went from very positive to just slightly more intensity and thinking that we are getting ourselves back into the game. Who knows, if Jonny and I had batted for another five overs; if Moeen Ali and I could have got a bit of a partnership together… Yes, it was a huge ask. But in that situation it’s a matter of trying to take the game deep and give us some sort of chance,” he added.
Australia and England will face each other in the second ODI of the three-match series on Sunday at Manchester.