England’s wicket-keeper batsmen Sam Billings will once again feature for Sydney Thunder after re-signing with the franchise for the upcoming 2021-22 season of the Big Bash League (BBL).
Billings had a productive outing last season with Thunder as he had amassed 260 runs from 10 innings, riding on an impressive strike rate of 142.
Billings, 30, will once again join fellow countryman Alex Hales, who had finished the last BBL season as the leading run-scorer. The two players will link up with the former England coach Trevor Bayliss, who was signed as the Thunder’s head coach earlier this year on a three-year contract.
Commenting on his association, Billings said: “I think the most exciting thing about coming back to the Thunder is the group of young players that complement the older, experienced heads.”
“Hales is obviously a high quality player and we have all seen what he can do. In my first experiences with Sydney Thunder last season there were obviously positive signs but we didn’t finish where we wanted to, or could finish. There is no reason we can’t take another step forward and go close to the title,” he added.
Billings also praised Thunder batter Ollie Davies, saying: “Ollie is a great young player. I spent quite a bit of time with him and we got on well. The way he plays, he really does take it on and that becomes a positive influence on other people.”
“I saw bits of myself in him a little bit with that raw approach. I think he really is a star of the future and this year we will see that last season was invaluable experience for him. We saw glimpses of what he can do last year and now with Trevor Bayliss as head coach, he’s a good coach to learn off. Both Halesy and I have played a lot under Trevor and it’s really exciting, not only for younger players, but for the older players, to be influenced by TB,” he added.
Billings also expressed he was keen to see the progression made by fellow Thunder wicketkeeper-batters Baxter Holt and Matt Gilkes.
“Both those guys really do have very different characters but both are keen to learn and that provides for healthy competition. I’ve done quite a bit of captaincy now and you learn certainly how to be self aware and importantly group aware,” Billings said.
“I enjoy that role of being there if people need advice as a young player. I was lucky to have that when I was coming through the ranks. I have a good grip of T20 cricket having played a lot of it now and from those experiences I think I can bring positivity to that environment.,” he added.
The BBL 11 will kick-off on December 5 with the opening match between defending champions Sydney Sixers and Melbourne Stars.
Sydney Thunder (Squad):
Usman Khawaja (Captain), Sam Billings, Jonathan Cook, Ben Cutting, Ollie Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matthew Gilkes, Chris Green, Alex Hales, Baxter Holt, Nathan McAndrew, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, Chris Tremain