KNOW YOUR LIONS
“I am hugely honoured to have been picked up by the Chennai Super Kings, one of the most followed and decorated franchises in the Indian Premier League,” England’s Sam Billings has said ahead of the 2018 season.
“I’m extremely excited to play in such a great side and learn a lot from all the experienced players that we have,” added the limited-overs specialist, who spent the previous two seasons with Delhi Daredevils.
The Lions won the IPL twice, finished runners-up on four occasions and qualified to the Playoffs in every season between 2008 and 2015 to emerge as one of the most successful franchises in the opening decade of the competition.
“I’m very much looking forward to working with (MS) Dhoni, someone who I have admired as a player for a long time as we play in similar roles (’keeper-bat), so looking forward to learning from him,” continued the 26-year-old dynamic batsman and Kent captain.
Billings currently plays as a specialist batsman for his country (Jos Buttler dons the big gloves) and has made a name for himself as a superb fielder.
“India has a passion for cricket like no other place in the world and it is phenomenal to be a part of this passion. The attention and knowledge of the people about the game is really amazing,” said Billings, who turned out for Sydney Sixers in the recent Big Bash League T20 as a specialist batsman.
Speaking about the pressure of expectation on turning out for high-profile CSK, Billings said, “Ultimately there’s pressure every time you walk to the crease representing anyone. It’s more exciting to be a part of this awesome franchise and play with and against the best players in the world.
“That’s why we play the game, to be a part of groups like this and play on the world stage, so I just see it as a hugely exciting and fantastic opportunity to showcase what I can do.”
The 11th edition of the premier competition kicks off on April 7 with CSK taking on defending champions Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium.
“Billings can make a big difference to the team as a floater as he is someone who can bat equally well at any position,” said KS Viswanathan, CEO, Chennai Super Kings. “He’s a superb striker of the ball.”