Cricket

Sam Billings wants to emulate 'freak' Jos Buttler

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Sam Billings is hoping for more chances to show he too can play spectacular match-winning innings for England like Jos Buttler.

Billings filled in for his fellow wicketkeeper in front and behind the stumps in the 79-run Twenty20 warm-up victory over United Arab Emirates at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

It was others who underpinned England's success, Jason Roy top-scoring with 59 in a total of 174 for six and Moeen Ali then grabbing four for 11 with a clutch of late wickets as the hosts fell well short.

Billings helped the cause at number five, with a dozen runs in his first innings since the end of last summer.

He was not required during England's 3-1 one-day international series win over Pakistan so was a spectator in the dressing-room during Buttler's record-breaking 46-ball century which powered the tourists to their final success in Dubai three days ago.

Billings watched in awe on Friday, but is inspired to try and match Buttler's brilliance if and when he has another opportunity to do so.

"The bloke's a freak, to put it bluntly," he said.

"It was a phenomenal innings, and a pleasure to watch."

The Kent wicketkeeper nonetheless believes he and others in the squad also have the ability to turn matches England's way in white-ball cricket.

"We're all trying to emulate something like that on a personal level," Billings added.

"The pleasing thing is that I think we have numerous individuals who can make performances like that happen.

"You look to aspire to do things like that. You've done it at county level, so it's about emulating it at international level.

"If I get an opportunity, I'll give it 100 per cent ... and hope it will come off."

Buttler is sure to return for three Twenty20s against Pakistan over the next week, in Dubai and Sharjah, after only four full international matches in the shortest format for England since the last global tournament in Bangladesh in March 2014.

The next World Twenty20 will be in the same month next year, in India, and Billings is increasingly optimistic.

"As a squad in one-day cricket, I think we've moved forward really well," he said.

"We feel this whole squad can really move up another level, so it's about continuing that momentum throughout this winter into the World Cup.

"It's an important week (coming up), and we'll be giving it a right good go.

"Tours like this are exceptional to improve our skills."

Personally, he insists he has benefited too - despite so little match action so far.

He added: "The next global Twenty20 tournament is in India, it doesn't get much better than that.

"So to have a bit of experience out here, in these conditions, is invaluable.

"I've been working hard on may game, so I hope that pays dividends if I get an opportunity.

"There are not much better things to be doing than playing for your country overseas."

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