On the same day his countrymen crumbled to an embarrassing Ashes defeat, Sydney Thunder’s English star Sam Billings made his case for a national team call-up with a starring role against the Perth Scorchers.
After blasting 67 off 35 balls on Tuesday night, Billings said if England wanted him to help steady the Ashes ship, all they had to do was ask.
Billings thrashed 10 fours and two sixes at Manuka Oval to help the Thunder pull off an upset 34-run win against the Scorchers in the Big Bash League.
Perth suffered their first BBL loss of the season after Billings helped the Thunder post 7-200 before the Scorchers were restricted to 8-166.
Billings averages 33.72 from 25 one-day internationals for England but has never cracked the Test line-up.
However, the 30-year-old has thrived on Aussie decks in the BBL this season – something his countrymen have struggled to do this Ashes series.
Hours after England were routed for 68 to slump to a humiliating third Test loss at the MCG, Billings thrashed a quick fire half century – which fell just one shy of his country’s woeful second innings total – to boost his run haul to 236 at 47.2 this BBL season.
Billings says he has not given up on playing Test cricket and would love to come to England’s rescue this Ashes series as they look to avoid a whitewash.
“It’s been a funny one. I’ve not played much (international) cricket,” said Billings.
“I’ve been in a lot of bubbles, I’ve been in a lot of England squads and not played enough.
“For me at the moment, I’m just enjoying playing. I’m 30 now and I’ve just got to play cricket.
“But if that call comes, yeah, Test cricket is still the pinnacle.”
Billings – who has also played 33 Twenty20 internationals – said it was easy to thrive in the Thunder’s positive environment.
“I love playing for the Thunder, I get backed in, I get valued in this environment,” he said.
Fellow England hopeful Saqib Mahmood also impressed for the Thunder on Tuesday night, ensuring Perth’s chase got off on the wrong foot by knocking over Josh Inglis with the second ball of their innings.
He also broke a vital 43-run fifth wicket stand by dismissing Laurie Evans with the first ball of the Scorchers’ power surge, finishing with 2-29 off his four overs.