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Postcard from India: Billings on the IPL - and an expensive lunch with Stokes!

The Delhi Daredevils and England batsman speaks about coming up against his England team-mates in the IPL

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Postcard from India: Billings on the IPL - and an expensive lunch with Stokes!

Sam Billings in action against the West Indies

This is my second year in the IPL, but it feels even more intense than last year.

To play cricket in India is as special as anywhere because of the passion for the game here. It’s an obsession and you have to see it to believe it really – it’s absolutely crazy.

I was here last year as a squad player, but this year I feel like a senior member of the team for the Delhi Daredevils, even though I’m only 25.

I’ve enjoyed taking on the extra responsibility, it’s been a great to bat at the top of the order and to get this experience in such a quality tournament and such different conditions.

On the other side, it’s great to play against my mates from the England team. I’ve now crossed paths with all of them except Jason Roy and the fact that there are so many of us out here shows the standing in which English cricket is currently held.

I am playing with several internationals and everyone says that the England players are exceptional. You can tell that other teams fear the prospect of coming up against England at the moment, which bodes well for us.

It was the most expensive player in the IPL against the cheapest – but somehow I still ended up buying him lunch!

We have a couple of Whatsapp groups so I stay in touch with the other England boys and it’s carnage at times! 

I speak to Jos Buttler a lot and we had a few beers and a catch up after our game against Mumbai Indians the other night.

I also had a chance to see Ben Stokes and we played a round of golf together which was good fun. It was the most expensive player in the IPL against the cheapest – but somehow I still ended up buying him lunch!

It has been a crazy few weeks – with all the matches, the travel and events around the IPL, there’s hardly been any time to stop and think.

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Sam Billings on T20 batting

After he smacked 53 off 26 balls for the Chennai Super Kings, how does the England man approach T20 batting?

As for my own form, I feel like I’m hitting the ball really well and I like I’m in good nick. I would like to have built more on a couple of starts but I think showed with my half century against Kings XI Punjab that I am ready to do a job for the team at the top of the order.

It has not been the easiest tournament so far for the Daredevils but I think you are seeing again this year that the quality of the IPL is as close as you can get to international cricket.

There is a lot of debate about the merits of England players coming here to play in the IPL, but in my case I think it makes me more rounded as both a cricketer and a person.

Playing against 80,000 people at Eden Gardens certainly helps with the mental aspect of performing at the highest level, when the pressure is on.

I always find that I play better when I have a smile on my face and that’s the way I’m approaching the IPL and everything I’m doing in my career.

We only have 10 or 15 years when we are lucky enough to play this game, so we have to soak it up when we have the opportunity.

I want to play on the biggest stage and perform to my best at that level. It’s a whirlwind to play in the IPL, but it’s an amazing experience and hopefully it will make me a better player for England.

 

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