England’s middle-order batsman Sam Billings has more often than not credited former India skipper MS Dhoni for teaching him some of the most crucial aspects of the fascinating game. Recently, Billings once again showered praiseworthy comments for MSD.
When the 29-year-old led his side to an impressive six-wicket win over Ireland in the first of the three-match ODI series, Billings shared his experience of learning from Dhoni during his Indian Premier League (IPL) stint with Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
In the 2018 season of IPL, Billings played a match-winning 56-run knock to guide the Dhoni-led side to a famous victory over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Chennai.
“(There’s) no bigger star than MS Dhoni in terms of my role that I want to fulfill, there’s no better person to learn from than MS Dhoni. For me, it was great to pick his brains and just enjoy the environment that he’s created there,” Billings told Cricbuzz.
The Kent batsman recalled how he got attached with the Ranchi-born cricketer due to the duo’s approbation for the English Premier League (EPL) club, Manchester United.
“He’s a big Man United fan, and it really helps (chuckles). He used to invite me whenever the game was on, and we used to watch in his room. It’s just pretty cool to talk about cricket with him and just learn from him, to see how he goes about his business (in terms of) practice, games,” he added.
“For me as well, in my third year of captaincy at Kent, I think the most incredible thing is how he talks to his players — especially the young players. They have the utmost respect and trust in him, and he also trusts his people and allows them to really thrive in the environment. Asking him on the nets about what he would try to attempt against a particular bowler and just checking ideas around. It was really helpful for me,” Billings added further.
Billings also spoke about the upcoming season of IPL, which will start in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from September 19. He reckoned that MSD would be bracing himself up to exhibit his magic in the cash-rich league.
“I think that’s the benefit of experience. We all have the layoffs in the past few months with this, and I had my injury last year. I think that’s the benefit of a franchise tournament that you, as an individual, will have to get ready. Whether it’s a week, maybe two weeks, at very short notice, you have to prepare for an upcoming tournament. There’s no better person in those terms than MS. He would be absolutely raring to go, and like anyone in that role, he gets better with age. That experience really helps. That is what I’m hoping to do and emulate,” Billings concluded.