Rahul Dravid's training improved my batting against spin, says England's Sam Billings

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Rahul Dravid's training improved my batting against spin, says England's Sam Billings

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SportsCafe Desk

01/11/2017

England batsman Sam Billings has credited Rahul Dravid for his improved batting skills against spin bowling following his match-winning knock of 93 against India A on Tuesday. Billings also said that the presence of MS Dhoni on the pitch has made the practice games much more exciting.

England came out as the winners against India A in the first practice match in Mumbai on Tuesday, courtesy of a superb knock from youngster Sam Billings, who scored 93 off 85 balls to guide the visitors to a 3-wicket victory. The 25-year old has revealed that his footwork has improved after being coached by Rahul Dravid during IPL 2016 while playing for Delhi Daredevils.

"It's (IPL stint) definitely going to help (in the upcoming series). My footwork against spin improved just in the six weeks here working with Rahul Dravid, one of the best players ever to play the game. It's an amazing experience and one I would like to have again," Billings told PTI, on Tuesday.

"Spin is to play a massive part, Ashwin and Jadeja are the best in the world as well; We have got quite a few guys with lots of experience over here now," he added, on the aspect of facing the Indian spinners in the upcoming ODI series.

However, the main focus in the match was on MS Dhoni, who led an Indian team for the last time after stepping down as the captain of the senior team a week ago. Billings felt that the people flocking at the stadium to see Dhoni has brought a sense of excitement to the game.

"He's a hero around India and around the world. What a great career he has had just as a captain! Showed today that plenty of cricket is left in him, didn't he? What a great crowd here for a warm-up game and so realistic to the first game of the series in a couple of days! It's great. All the best to him (Dhoni),” Billings said on Dhoni, who scored a smashing 68 not-out to take India A to 304/5 in 50 overs.

"It was great to have such a great crowd for a warm up game. It makes it far more realistic and competitive. If it was a completely empty stadium, playing against Mahendra Singh Dhoni, we should have been playing on a Maidan! At the end of the day you would have a crowd whether it's IPL or Big Bash (in Australia)," said Billings.

The 25-year old was also optimistic about England's chances in the three-match ODI series with Joe Root and Ben Stokes set to return for the first ODI at Pune.

"It's a great thing for English cricket, Joe Root coming back into the side, Ben Stokes coming back into the side ? two of the best in the world. Joe Root is one of the best batsmen in the world, among top three. We have a really strong side from one to 11. We have Liam Plunkett and Jonny Bairstow sitting out. You can't afford to be disappointed or feel sorry for yourself? it's professional sport,” he said

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