England wicketkeeper-batsman Sam Billings said he has no doubt that MS Dhoni will be raring to go in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 which is all set to be held in the UAE from September 19, provided it gets a go-ahead from the Indian government.
Sam Billings, who played for Chennai Super Kings from 2018 to 2019, said MS Dhoni’s experience will help him prepare and get ready for the IPL despite having not played competitive cricket for more than a year and having been in lockdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
MS Dhoni has not played any competitive cricket since the 2019 World Cup as he took a sabbatical post the quadrennial tournament. Dhoni was gearing up for IPL 2020, joining a CSK training camp in Chennai in March before it was called off due to the pandemic.
With the BCCI preparing to host the IPL in September-November window after the postponement of T20 World Cup and Asia Cup, the focus is back on Dhoni as he prepares for the much-anticipated comeback.
“I think that’s the benefit of experience. Obviously we have all had a layoff with this (pandemic) and I also had my injury last year. But for me, I think that’s the benefit of franchise tournaments that you, as an individual have to get ready, whether it’s a week or maybe two weeks, very short notice you have to prepare for a tournament that’s upcoming.
“With experience, you get to know what you need as an individual and there’s no better person than MS himself who knows his game.
“He will absolutely be raring to go and I think, like anything in that role, you get better with age and experience does really help,” Sam Billings told Cricbuzz.
Billings made a successful comeback at the international arena on Thursday as he hit a match-winning 67 not out against Ireland in the 1st of a 3-match ODI series in Southampton. Billings was going through a tough phase in his career in 2019 as an injury kept him out of the World Cup squad.
Billings pulled out of the IPL auction and said he would focus on county cricket after being left out of England’s tour of South Africa earlier this year. Notably, CSK released him ahead of the auction in 2019.
‘MS Dhoni a big Manchester United fan’
Stressing that he learnt a lot under MS Dhoni during his 2 years at CSK, Billings said the two players connected over their love for Manchester United.
“I absolutely loved my 2 years at CSK. The success in which the environment had consistently over the time is unmatched really, probably only Mumbai have been as consistent as CSK. To get a winners medal of the IPL is something that I really cherished.
“For me, that experience from those great players… the overseas guys but also the homegrown Indian stars. I mean, no bigger star than MS Dhoni in terms of my role that I want to fulfill
“There is no one better than MS to learn from. For me, it was great to pick his brains and enjoy the environment he has created.
“He is a big Man United fan which really helps, as am I. He always invited me when there’s a few Man United fans around. So whenever the game was on, we used to go to his room and watch there. It was pretty cool just to talk about cricket and learn of him.
“And see how he goes about his business, whether it’s practice or games. For me, as well, my third year of captaincy at Kent, I think that’s the most incredible thing… how he talks to his players, especially the young players. They have the utmost respect and trust in him but he also trusts people and allows them to really thrive in the environment,” Billings said.