Cricket: Billings admits Joe Root arrival will force him out of England side

Joe Root
Joe Root
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Sam Billings accepts Joe Root's arrival in India might squeeze him out of England's one-day side, despite guiding the team to victory in their opening match in Mumbai.

Billings top-scored with 93 in 85 balls as the tourists successfully chased down the 305 against an Indian A side containing a host of senior internationals and captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

It was a stern test of character that England passed, thanks in no small part to the efficient and energetic innings of their number three.

That position, of course, typically belongs to Root and he will reclaim it when he rejoins the squad, having become a father for the first time at the weekend.

Star all-rounder Ben Stokes will also return to the XI after a rest, meaning Billings faces a fight to remain in the team.

But despite his growing reputation and Indian Premier League experience, the Kent batsman is not likely to cause a stir if he is stood down for the first one-day international Pune on Sunday.

"You can't really afford to be disappointed or feel sorry for yourself, it's professional sport," he said after England's three-wicket win.

"Joe Root is one of the best batsmen in the world, top three without a doubt. It's a great thing for English cricket to have Joe coming back into the side and Ben Stokes coming back into the side. It's a strong squad and they make the team even stronger.

"On a long tour or in tournament play, be it the Champions Trophy (in the summer), the bigger the squad the better. Every time I go out to bat I try to do the best I can and try to show people what I can do.

"It feels like that every time I bat."

England last tasted victory of any kind back in October, in the first Test against Bangladesh.

They lost the subsequent clash in Dhaka and then suffered four defeats and a draw in the Test leg of the India tour.

The local fans had crammed into the historic Brabourne Stadium hoping to watch another home success and cheer on Dhoni, leading an India side for probably the final time having just resigned the ODI job.

Well over 20,000 were in the stands to watch him hit 68 not out - upstaging centurion Ambati Rayudu in the process - with one enthusiastic member of the crowd racing to the middle to pay homage at the veteran's feet.

If that was a slightly surreal spectacle, it certainly made for a better atmosphere than the usual drudgery associated with warm-ups.

"It was great to have such a great crowd in for a warm-up game. As players it makes it far more realistic, far more competitive," said Billings.

"MS Dhoni is a hero around India and a hero for world cricket. Credit to him for what a great career he's had as a captain. There's plenty of cricket left in him as he showed."