Sam Billings defends decision of prioritizing PSL over national duty

KARACHI: England’s wicketkeeper batter Sam Billings, who represented Lahore Qalandars in the recently-concluded Pakistan Super League (PSL) season eight, defended his decision of preferring the franchise league over national duty.

Billings was among the few English players, including Alex Hales and Liam Dawson to prioritize lucrative PSL contracts rather than play for the national side in Bangladesh.

The wicketkeeper batter, who made his England debut in 2015 urged the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to review their white-ball contracts.

According to the details, English cricketers, without central contracts, can earn around £5,000 for a one-day international, and £2,500 for T20 internationals, which is considerably less than the value of franchise contracts.

“Personally, the central contract situation has to resolve itself because we’re seeing it more and more where opportunities if you’re not centrally contracted…(are not significant),” the Independent quoted Billing.

“And I think it’s been said by numerous people at the ECB as well – they completely agree with what the decision we made was.

“For me, you balance these situations, you look at it from all the different angles and I think it (playing in the PSL) was the best decision for me.

“I’d feel hard done by if people say I haven’t put England cricket first over the last eight years, running the drinks instead of passing up these opportunities.

Billings then also highlighted the need of reviewing the contract systems for the betterment of the players.

“I felt when I didn’t get picked for the ODI’s in South Africa, after not doing too badly in Australia, that I would do what I like to do – it probably took a little while to get to that point,” Billings said.

“But I think the fundamental issue is the contract situation and the opportunities now that most of the players can get, it’s a really tough ask.

“But in world cricket at the moment we’ve got way too much cricket going on and there needs to be that levelling out period where everyone can benefit – but there has to be a timescale for it to work,” he concluded.