Ashes 2021-22: Sam Billings added to England squad as backup wicketkeeper

Ashes 2021-22: Sam Billings added to England squad as backup wicketkeeper

Sam Billings is yet to make his Test debut.

Sam Billings
Sam Billings of England (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

In what can be called a major development, Sam Billings has been drafted into England’s Ashes squad as a backup wicketkeeper-batter ahead of the fifth Test in Hobart. Billings was a part of Sydney Thunder in the now-postponed Big Bash League 2021-22. While the right-handed batter was due to fly back home to prepare for England’s T20I tour of West Indies later this month, he has been held back for the Hobart game.

Notably, Jos Buttler has been woefully out of form with the bat in this series. While Jonny Bairstow did smash a century in the fourth Test, he suffered a nasty blow to the thumb which might restrict him from taking the gloves. Ollie Pope, the other wicketkeeper in the current squad, has been short of runs as well. Hence, the fifth Ashes Test might see Billings’ debut in the purest format.

Sam Billings to join the team in Sydney

Meanwhile, the major news was carried out by cricket.com.au. It was also learn’t that Billings will now join the England team in Sydney after a period of isolation in the team hotel. He will also undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test. Meanwhile, Buttler, who has scored 96 runs in seven innings this series, has received massive criticism. Moreover, a finger injury, which he sustained while fielding the previous day, has casted doubt over his ability to keep wicket during Australia’s second innings.

Bairstow, on the other hand, was unbeaten at 103 at the end Day 3 of the ongoing fourth Test. However, he was left in agony after being struck on the thumb by a sharp delivery from Aussie skipper Pat Cummins. Speaking of his injury, the batter said he’s unsure about the level of damage.

“I was hurting. But, look, you’re playing in a New Year’s Test match in Sydney on the pink day, it is going to take a heck of a lot to get you off the field. In some ways, it frees you up, in some ways it doesn’t. But at the end of the day, you’ve still got a job to do. Yes, it will be sore, but at the end of the day you’re playing cricket for England and I’m very, very proud to do that,” Bairstow said at the end of day’s play.

When asked about potentially keeping the wickets in Hobart, Bairstow said: “I don’t know as yet, to be really honest with you. I’ll know some more information tomorrow. I’m not sure about the keeping side of things anyway. But from a batting point of view, I’ll be out there in the morning.”