England's new T20I vice-captain Sam Billings was recently released by IPL heavyweights Chennai Super Kings ahead of the upcoming IPL auction on December 19. Billings was among the six cricketers released by the franchise, which also include the likes of Mohit Sharma, David Willey and Dhruv Shorey. Initially purchased by CSK in the 2018 auction, the cricketer is yet to make an impact in the cash-rich league. Billings, however, was part of the IPL-winning CSK squad in the 2018 edition. Here, we take a look at three teams who can bid big for the CSK batsman.
With all the #yellove force behind him, #WattoMan is back on the field smoking vera level 4s and 6s in the #T10League. An unbeaten 57* off 31 followed by a MoM winning 41 off 25! #WhistlePodu 🦁💛 pic.twitter.com/c4DqXC3ro5— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) November 16, 2019
Kings XI Punjab recently traded their captain Ravichandran Ashwin with Delhi Capitals. Looking at their present bench-strength, the Punjab-based side will be looking for a handy middle-order batsman who can score some quick runs in the middle-overs. Billings is also a quality wicketkeeper and he has already kept for the England team in limited-overs cricket.
Team India: The Daylight Savers. Making it a habit to save 2 days every Test match. A cake walk in the Indore park for the Indian bowlers with Shami and Ash sharing 12 wickets between them! #WhistlePodu #INDvBAN 🦁💛 PC: @BCCI pic.twitter.com/tpmo60S2bk— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) November 16, 2019
Rajasthan Royals are already enhanced with some hard-hitting middle-order batsmen in their line-up. They have a tendency to go for English players over the years such as Dmitri Mascerenhas, Liam Livingstone, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer. Sam Billings could join some of his current teammates at the franchise and be their ideal non-Indian player in the playing XI, who could also open with Buttler if needed to give the team an attacking start. In all of his 22 IPL games, Billings has scored 334 runs at a staggering strike-rate of 133.60.
Reigning champions Mumbai Indians recently released Evin Lewis during the trading window. Sam Billings can be an ideal replacement for the franchise with his wicket-keeping skills. His big-hitting abilities in the middle and death overs can also pull some pressure off Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard, while he is a sufficient back-up player for South Africa's ODI and T20I captain, Quinton de Kock.