Ahead of their upcoming three-match ODI series, England’s Sam Billings believes India will pose the biggest threat to the hosts at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales.
England and India kick off their three-match ODI series at Trent Bridge on Thursday, in what is a battle between the No. 1 and 2 ranked Men’s ODI sides respectively.
Billings, who has 15 ODI caps to his name, is well aware of the quality India will possess at next year’s Cricket World Cup.
“There’s a lot of very good teams, I think India will be a very strong side to beat, they’re always strong,” said Billings at the recent ‘World Cup Schools’ event.
“[They’re a] very adaptable side and have some very good players, so I’d put them down as England’s biggest rivals.”
Billings made his ODI debut in the wake of England’s disappointing performance at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Since then, he’s been part of a squad which has revolutionised the way England play white-ball cricket, and deservedly sit at the top of the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings.
“Over the last few years our one-day cricket has gone from strength to strength,” added Billings, who will be hoping to return to England’s line-up ahead of CWC19.
“The squad of players we’ve got have been incredible and will only get better. It’s a really exciting time.
“Of course you have to be optimistic, you have to be confident. If we play our best cricket then we’ll certainly be there or thereabouts [at CWC19], so it’ll be a great contest and hopefully a great tournament.”
England’s football team have created a buzz in the country in recent weeks thanks to their showing at the World Cup. Billings is hoping a home World Cup in 2019 can do the same for cricket.
“In our own home country, home field advantage, you see how the whole country reacts to when a sporting team does well, whether it be the rugby or the football, which is currently going on.
“You see the public movement towards it and it’s just great to see. Hopefully, fingers crossed, we’ll have the same movement towards the England cricket team next year and encourage some other kids and people to not only watch the cricket but play as well.”