New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) Delhi Daredevils’ English recruit Sam Billings hopes a dominating performance with the willow in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017, will keep him in good stead whenever he gets a chance to represent his national cricket side.
Playing his second IPL, Billings feels the intensity of the tournament is much more this year, as he himself has become an important cog in the wheel for the Delhi franchise.
Acknowledging the kind of pressure while playing in front of an 80,000 odd crowd at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, the 25-year-old said it only helps in developing the mental aspect of performing at the highest level.
“This is my second year in the IPL, but it feels even more intense than last year. I was here last year as a squad player, but this year I feel like a senior member of the team for the Delhi Daredevils, even though I’m only 25,” Billings was quoted from his column at ecb.co.uk.
“I’ve enjoyed taking on the extra responsibility, it’s been great to bat at the top of the order and to get this experience in such a quality tournament and such different conditions.”
“It has not been the easiest tournament so far for the Daredevils but I think you are seeing again this year that the quality of the IPL is as close as you can get to international cricket.”
“Playing against 80,000 people at Eden Gardens certainly helps with the mental aspect of performing at the highest level, when the pressure is on,” he added.
Commenting on his own form, Billings wrote: “As for my own form, I feel like I’m hitting the ball really well and I like I’m in good nick. I would like to have built more on a couple of starts but I think showed with my half century against Kings XI Punjab that I am ready to do a job for the team at the top of the order.”
“I want to play on the biggest stage and perform to my best at that level. It’s a whirlwind to play in the IPL, but it’s an amazing experience and hopefully it will make me a better player for England.”
Besides Billings, Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan, the year’s IPL witnessed a rapid surge in demand for England regulars like Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Jason Roy and Tymal Mills.
Billings feels the growing number of England players in the IPL only speaks about the kind of standing in which English cricket is held.
“It’s great to play against my mates from the England team. I’ve now crossed paths with all of them except Jason Roy and the fact that there are so many of us out here shows the standing in which English cricket is currently held.”
“I am playing with several internationals and everyone says that the England players are exceptional. You can tell that other teams fear the prospect of coming up against England at the moment, which bodes well for us,” he added.
Commenting on his interactions with his national side’s teammates, Billings said: “I speak to Jos Buttler a lot and we had a few beers and a catch up after our game against Mumbai Indians the other night.”
“I also had a chance to see Ben Stokes and we played a round of golf together which was good fun. It was the most expensive player in the IPL against the cheapest — but somehow I still ended up buying him lunch!,” he added on a lighter note.