Wicket-keeper batsman, Sam Billings has been drafted into England’s Ashes squad as cover for the final Ashes Test in Hobart. Billings will receive a chance to make his debut in the longest format of the game if Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow miss out on the Hobart Test due to their injuries.
The English Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday, January 7 stated that wicket-keeper batsman, Sam Billings has been added to the England squad for the final Ashes Test in Hobart as cover for the injured Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow. Buttler suffered a blow on his left index finger during the second day's play in the ongoing Sydney Test match. Whereas, Jonny Bairstow got struck on his thumb by Pat Cummins on Day 3.
However, despite the pain, Bairstow registered a fighting century against Australia, and stitched up a crucial 128-run stand along with Ben Stokes (66). At stumps on Day 3, England were 258/7 with Bairstow unbeaten on 103 runs.
Speaking of his injury, Bairstow stated that he is looking forward to the fourth day's play in the Sydney Test.
"I don't know as yet... I'll know some more information tomorrow. I'm not sure about the keeping side of things. But from a batting point of view, I'll be out there in the morning," Bairstow said at the end of the day’s play.
Billings, who is yet to make his debut in the longest format of the game, will receive a chance in the Hobart Test if Buttler and Bairstow miss out on the final Ashes fixture due to their injuries. Ollie Pope, the other wicket-keeper batsman in the England Ashes squad, has been short of runs in his recent outings. Buttler, who is England's regular wicket-keeper batsman also failed to impress in the Ashes series as he could manage only 96 runs from seven innings. The poor form of the wicket-keeper batsmen in the squad will help Billings to earn a spot in England playing XI for the final Ashes Test.
Billings was a part of the Sydney Thunder squad in the Big Bash League 2021-22, and the right-hand batsman scored 284 runs from nine matches at an average of 40.57. Billings will now join the England team after a period of isolation in the team hotel.
"(Billings) was due to fly to the UK this evening ahead of England's T20I tour of the Caribbean. He will now join the Test party in Sydney after a period of isolation in the team hotel subject to receiving a negative PCR test result," the ECB said in a statement.