The Hundred: England's Sam Billings says Oval Invincibles have quality to go all the way


The Oval is set to play host to a full house when The Hundred gets underway in June - and the Invincibles couldn't have asked for a more intriguing opening fixture. 

Manchester Originals have a wealth of limited overs specialists on board, not least Jos Buttler and Kagiso Rabada fresh off their IPL success. 

England international Sam Billings, who will be keeping wicket for Oval Invincibles in the new format, is well aware they will be coming up against some formidable talent. 

The prospect of facing Buttler in limited overs is a daunting one for any of the other seven outfits in the summer's tournament, but Billings told GIVEMESPORT his side are focusing on the breadth of world-class players in their own ranks. 

"Bring it on!" Billings said of Buttler. "He's obviously a really good mate of mine and Jason [Roy] as well. I think that's the great thing about this tournament, there are no weak sides. They've got stars in every single side and Jos is absolutely one of those guys.

"For us to win the tournament, which we're going to aim to do, we've got to outplay these guys and I'm sure that we've got the quality to do that."

Along with Roy, Rory Burns, and the Curran brothers, Billings is one of a number of England players who will be sharing a dressing room in south London - though he's looking forward to his side boasting top international spinners too. 

"Sandeep Lamichhane and Sunil Narine, the x-factor they both have, in terms of being mystery spinners, is really exciting and it's a lot better to be on their team than against them. Those two guys will be really exciting, especially on a ground like The Oval, which can offer a bit to the spinners.

"All throughout the side, the international quality, we've got a lot of experience who have played in different tournaments around the world. That's huge. You see in all these franchise tournaments experience goes a very long way."


Rabada, who will take part for Manchester Originals, is one such player who has impressed in the IPL, though he is set to miss the start of the 2021 campaign in the sub-continent due to commitments with South Africa. 

Nevertheless, Billings is looking forward to a reunion with his former Kent teammate and isn't concerned about the amount of cricket internationals will be playing between now and the start of The Hundred. 

"Kagiso is a good friend of mine, he's played at Kent with me," he added. "I've played against and with him. Having those experiences against those kind of players, a lot of us know what each other's trying to do. It's just having the focus on our group at the end of the day, I'm very confident in the group that we've assembled.

"It's acknowledging that they've got good players, but at the end of the day, it's a game and anything could happen on the day. We've got plenty of match winners.

"They [the Currans] are two incredibly talented guys with great work ethic and the kind of characters you want in your dressing room, they're extremely competitive, to keep them together is great. I think they get the best out of each other. 

"Ultimately it's our job as professional cricketers to get ourselves right... For us as players, we've got to take responsibility to be ready for any game of cricket in terms of our schedule as well.

"It's not just the Test match guys, it's a lot of cricket at the top level now, around the world. It's the nature of our sport that it's a 12-month sport really."

Billings will head to India on Friday to join up with England ahead of their white-ball series, fresh off their extraordinary 10-wicket defeat on Thursday. 

White-ball specialists will be having to adapt between now and the start of The Hundred, even those who have played in the T20 Blast and the T10 previously. 

"I think everyone will have to be thinking on their feet in terms of this new format," Billings said.

"We played in the T10 which is even shorter and was absolute chaos at times. Match-ups have been such a big part of the game, especially in the franchise world, where certain bowlers are put on to face certain batsmen and I think we'll see that even more, especially if a bowler's on top of people to try and bowl those 10 balls in a row."

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