England wicketkeeper-batsman Sam Billings will reunite with the Sydney Sixers for the coming KFC Big Bash League season.
A spot for Billings opened on the Sixers roster when the South Africa-born spinner Johan Botha was granted Australian citizenship last week. With fellow Englishman Jason Roy already on the books having been signed last month, the Sixers opted to move away from previous international Michael Lumb, who is 36, and plump for the 25-year-old Billings from Kent.
Primarily a ‘keeper, Billings shared duties with the gloves with Haddin for Pakistan Super League champions Islamabad United earlier this year. Billings played several matches alongside Haddin in the Islamabad United XI with the younger man in the outfield, a role he has also filled for England with Jos Buttler the first choice gloveman.
“Brad Haddin is another one who helped me massively in my time with Islamabad United, both with keeping and batting and I’m looking forward to working with him again,” Billings said. “(He) really did help me with all of my game, so I’m looking forward to seeing him and spending some time with the other guys.”
Billings made his England limited overs debut in June 2015, and has played seven T20 internationals. His last appearance for England was the third and final ODI against Bangladesh, where he blasted 62 as opener to help the team to a series-clinching win.
Sixers head coach Greg Shipperd noted changes to the Australia Test team could impact on his squad.
“Sam Billings becomes our second international signing and is a crucial addition to our ranks given the selection of Nic Maddinson and the possibility of other Australian selections,” said Shipperd. “Recent international performances have whet our appetite that his explosive and creative style of batting will nicely suit our line-up. Sam can bat anywhere in the order and we like that flexibility in our players. Also his fielding is highly rated both as a keeper or outfielder. Good judges from England, Pakistan and the IPL have seen the potential in Sam and we welcome him to our squad.”
The Sixers start their BBL06 campaign on December 20 with the ‘Sydney Smash’ against cross-town rivals the Sydney Thunder at Spotless Stadium.
Squad: Moises Henriques (c), Sean Abbott, Sam Billings (OS), Jackson Bird, Doug Bollinger, Johan Botha, Ryan Carters, Ben Dwarshuis, Brad Haddin, Josh Hazlewood, Daniel Hughes, Nathan Lyon, Nic Maddinson, Joe Mennie, Stephen O’Keefe, Jason Roy (OS), Mitch Starc, Jordan Silk.
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