England wicketkeeper-batter Sam Billings was picked up by the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the IPL 2022 mega auction for Rs 2 crore and he has proved his worth in the ongoing season by making valuable contributions. In the last game against Mumbai Indians, Billings produced a quickfire stumping to send back the dangerous Dewald Brevis, and chipped in with the bat with a knock of 25 runs. Having represented Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals in the IPL previously, KKR is the England batter’s third franchise in the cash-rich league. Speaking to NDTV, Billings opened up on how it has been to represent the two-time IPL champions and in what ways, CSK and KKR are similar to each other.
“Yeah, I think with the three franchises I have represented in the IPL, CSK obviously incredibly successful. Winning the IPL and also becoming the runners-up. Two years that I really enjoyed. KKR I think have a lot of similarities with CSK in terms of the organisation and consistency on and off the field,” Billings told NDTV.
“I think it plays a huge part in why both the franchises have been successful. Definitely think Brendon McCullum’s (KKR head coach) fresh positivity is something I have really enjoyed working with so far and definitely a different approach to most coaches which is really good to experience,” he stated further.
So far in the ongoing season, Billings has scored 80 runs from 4 matches. In the first match of the season against CSK, Billings formed a crucial partnership to take KKR over the line against the defending champions.
When asked about his equation with head coach McCullum, Billings said: “Absolutely. That’s the good thing and we have gotten along really well. McCullum makes you feel confident as a player. I think that is such an important thing for any coach, to make players feel valued and have the backing from him so that you can play that attacking and positive brand of cricket.”
Billings also revealed that Andre Russell was the one player he really wanted to share the dressing room with in the KKR setup.
“When you are batting with Andre Russell and he is having his day, it is about putting your ego aside and doing what is best for the team. I am very happy to do that, there would be times when I would be needed to be the aggressor and take the game forward. I think experience helps a huge amount in shifting up and down the gears,” said Billings.
“I think Andre Russell is the one person I really wanted to share the dressing room with. It is probably a very boring answer. The guy can change the game on his own almost single-handedly out of absolutely nowhere and is just completely a different player to me. His skills are mind-blowing and he is the best on his day,” he added further.
KKR have won three matches out of four and the franchise is currently at the top of the table with six points. Shreyas Iyer’s side will next square off against Delhi Capitals on Sunday.
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