Sam William Billings (born 15 June 1991) is an English professional cricketer. Billings is a right-handed batsman who fields as a wicket-keeper. He was born in Pembury in Kent and plays for Kent County Cricket Club. Billings has also appeared in limited overs formats for the England cricket team and has played Twenty20 franchise cricket in the Pakistan Super League, Indian Premier League and in the Big Bash League in Australia.
|Full name||Sam William Billings|
|Born||15 June 1991
Pembury, Kent, England
|Nickname||Bilbo, Billo, Rupert|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|ODI debut (cap 242)||9 June 2015 v New Zealand|
|ODI shirt no.||7|
|T20I debut (cap 71)||23 June 2015 v New Zealand|
|T20I shirt no.||7|
|Domestic team information|
Early and personal life
Billings was born in Pembury, Kent and grew up on his family’s farm in north Kent. He developed as a good all-round sportsman, playing tennis for Kent and being offered a trial for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club after scoring a hat-trick against the team’s academy side whilst playing for Corinthian under-14s.He also played racquets, squash and rugby. His grandfather, Ron Billings, was a racquets champion and his cousin, Tom Billings, is a world ranked player of the game.Billings attributes racquets with helping to develop his batting skills, in particular his hand-eye coordination.
Billings attended Haileybury College in Hertfordshire, appearing regularly for their cricket First XI throughout his school career. He studied for a degree in Sport and Exercise Science at Loughborough University. Billings has said that he was “nowhere near good enough” to become a professional cricketer before his time at university and credits it with encouraging him to work hard to develop his talent.
Billings made his first-class debut for Loughborough MCCU against Northamptonshire in 2011. He made a further first-class appearance for the team in 2011, against Leicestershire.In his four first-class matches for Loughborough MCCU, he scored 321 runs at an average of 45.85, with a high score of 131. This score came in his debut match against Northamptonshire.
Whilst at university Billings was also a member of the Kent squad, and he made his debut for the county in May 2011 in a first-class match against his university side, Loughborough MCCU. During the 2011 season he also made his List A debut for Kent against the Netherlands in the 2011 Clydesdale Bank 40, standing in for regular wicket-keeper Geraint Jones. Billings made three further List A appearances in the 2011 season,as well as playing in four matches in the 2011 Friends Provident t20. After leading the county in one day runs scored in 2012, Billings replaced former England wicket-keeper Jones in Kent’s 2013 Friends Life t20 campaign. At the end of the season he kept wicket in the County Championship, breaking Jones’ string of 115 consecutive Championship appearances for Kent before playing Sydney Grade Cricket for Penrith District Cricket Club during the 2013–14 English winter.
Billings became the first choice wicket-keeper for Kent in the 2014 season and was awarded his county cap in August 2015. He played for the MCC in the champion county match in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of the 2015 season before scoring 693 runs at an average of 29.80 in the 2015 County Championship season and making his England One Day and T20 debuts. He was awarded his Kent county cap in August 2015 during the annual Canterbury Cricket Week. and signed a contract extension with Kent in January 2016 Billings signed a contract extension with Kent.
After sending the winter playing one-day international cricket with England and featuring in both the Pakistan Super League and Indian Premier League T20 competitions, Billings returned to Kent at the end of May having missed six County Championship matches as well as the start of both one-day competitions. During the 2016 season he became only the second Kent wicket-keeper to take seven catches in an innings and the tenth to claim nine dismissals in a first-class match, both one short of equalling the record for the county,and made his highest score in first-class cricket.
Billings represented the England Lions cricket team in the 2015 off-season in South Africa, making his debut and scoring 53 against a Gauteng Invitation XI. He was named in the provisional squad for the England cricket team before the 2015 Cricket World Cup, replacing the injured Craig Kieswetter,but did not feature in the final squad for the tournament.
Billings made his One Day International debut against New Zealand as a batsman in June 2015. He was trapped lbw by fellow debutant for New Zealand Mitchell Santner for 3 runs.Billings played in all five of the matches in the series, all as a specialist batsman, making his highest score of 41 in the final match to help England win the series 3-2. He made his Twenty20 International debut in the same series on 23 June 2015, scoring 21 as England won by 56 runs, before playing in the only T20I against Australia in 2015.
Billings made his England debut as a wicketkeeper in the first Twenty20 International against Pakistan in Dubai in November 2015. He scored 53 runs, his maiden international half-century, reaching his fifty in 24 balls, before being run out off the last ball of the England innings. He took two catches and completed a stumping during the Pakistan innings as England won by 14 runs. He was adjudged man of the match for his performance during the match.He went on to play in the next two games, making scores of 11 and seven, before playing for England Lions in a five match series against Pakistan A in Dubai in January 2016.
After playing in one T20I match against South Africa during England’s winter tour of the country, Billings was selected for the England squad for the 2016 World Twenty20 competition. He did not make an appearance for England during the competition, other than as a substitute fielder. The following May, he was named in a 30-man England Performance Squad for the 2016 domestic season and in June was selected for the T20I against Sri Lanka in July 2016. Later in the summer he played again for the Lions side against Pakistan A and Sri Lanka A, scoring his highest List A cricket score of 175 against Pakistan at Canterbury, before touring Bangladesh with the England One Day International team in October, scoring his maiden ODI half-century in the final match of the series batting as a replacement opening batsman.
In early 2017 Billings was part of the England ODI and T20 squad which toured India. He played in the opening List A match of the tour against India A again as a specialist batsman, scoring 93 runs.
Twenty20 franchise leagues
In December 2015 Billings was selected by Islamabad United in the 2016 Pakistan Super League draft, the first of three overseas Twenty20 leagues he took part in during 2016. The tournament took place in the United Arab Emirates in February 2016 and was the inaugural season of the competition. Billings played in five matches for Islamabad, scoring 34 runs with a top score of 26, but saw the opportunity to learn from players such as Australian Test wicket-keeper Brad Haddin as “invaluable”.He was retained by Islamabad for the 2017 season.
Billings was purchased by the Delhi Daredevils in the 2016 Indian Premier League auction in February 2016 for £30,000. He scored 54 runs on his debut for Delhi, helping the team to a victory over Kolkata Knight Riders, before going on to play in four further matches before Delhi were eliminated at the end of the group stage. Despite playing in only five matches in the tournament,Billings saw the experience as one which would help him “improve as a player”. In particular, he cited the influence of Delhi’s coach Rahul Dravid and had approached the IPL, which he rated as a “phenomenal experience”, with the intention of developing his skills, particularly against spin bowling.Billings was retained by Delhi for the 2017 Indian Premier League.
In November 2016 Billings signed for the Sydney Sixers to play in the 2016–17 Big Bash League in Australia. He made his debut for the Sixers in the opening match of the tournament, taking two catches as the team beat Sydney Thunder by nine wickets. After appearing in the Sixers first five matches of the tournament, Billings left the team to join the England squad in India at the beginning of January 2017. He batted four times for Sydney, returning an average of 31.25.
Career best performances
As of 16 October 2016, Billings has made three first-class and five List A centuries. The first was a score of 131 made on his first-class debut for Loughborough MCCU against Northamptonshire at the beginning of the 2011 season. He scored his first first-class century for Kent in July 2015 against Essex at Tunbridge Wells, having been out for 99 earlier in the same month against Surrey. His third first-class century came against Gloucestershire in August 2016 and is his current high score of 171. He has scored five List A cricket centuries and in 2014 shared the Walter Lawrence Trophy for the quickest century in County cricket during the season, scored off of 46 balls against Somerset in a 2014 Royal London One-Day Cup match. His highest List A score of 175 was made for England Lions against Sri Lanka A at his home ground of Canterbury during July 2016.
As of 16 October 2016
|Best Career Batting Performances|
|First-class cricket||171||Kent v Gloucestershire||Bristol||2016|
|List A cricket||175||England Lions v Sri Lanka A||Canterbury||2016|
|Twenty20 cricket||61 not out||England Lions v Pakistan A||Dubai||2015|