Sam Billings hopes to use England T20Is, IPL as audition for World Cup
Sam Billings is back in England's T20I squad, having last played in May. © Getty

His last ODI was in June 2018, but Sam Billings still targets a spot in England’s squad for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup.

Billings, 27, was on Thursday recalled to England’s T20 squad to play three T20Is against West Indies and now hopes to prove to the selectors that he can have a role to play this summer at home. (READ: England were never under pressure chasing 361: Eoin Morgan)

In 15 ODIs between 2015 and 2018, the wicketkeeper-batsman has a highest score of 62 and averages 22.58. Both England’s coach Trevor Bayliss and captain Eoin Morgan have spoken of how the 15-man squad or the World Cup is not locked, and Billings hopes that, if given a chance in the upcoming T20Is, he can break into the ODI setup. (READ: Is this England’s best chance to win the World Cup?)

“I just have to score runs,” he told PA Sport. “There’s not just 15 guys who are looking for a World Cup spot, there are probably 25-30 guys who could easily get in. There is healthy competition all the way down. Who knows, if I get selected and go well in the T20s and then go well in the IPL then who knows.

“It’s in my hands really. Whether I get an opportunity we’ll have to wait and see. I’m actually pretty calm about it, there’s not much I can do apart from enjoy my cricket. There’s no guarantees, I’m very relaxed. Whatever squad is picked it’s going to be unbelievably strong.”

Billings was retained by Chennai Super Kings for the 2019 IPL, and hopes to use the tournament to push for selection too.

‘The IPL is the closest thing you’re going to get to international cricket, the pressure is as big as the World Cup. You saw Jos Buttler getting picked for the Test side from the IPL so it carries weight,” he said. “You get conditioned and used to that sort of pressure. That could be an edge for me but ultimately it comes down to performances.”

The deadline for teams to submit their 15-man World Cup squads is April 23.

Top-ranked England play West Indies for four ODIs – they chased 361 to take a 1-o lead – and then one with Ireland and five with Pakistan before the World Cup starts on May 30.