Regular deputy Jos Buttler is one of the number of senior players rested, with Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer also being given a breather.
Kent skipper Sam Billings says his priority is to start with the bat as he looks to secure a spot in Australia for next year’s T20 World Cup.
📸 Our IT20 squad in New Zealand! 🏴🏏
Team for the first warm up game: Bairstow, Banton, Vince, Morgan, Denly, Billings, Sam Curran, Rashid, Jordan, Mahmood, Brown. pic.twitter.com/YxOMH128h7
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) October 25, 2019
“It’s great to get some recognition and it’s a huge honor,” Billings – who has captained England Lions – said ahead of England’s opening T20 warm-up match against a New Zealand XI on Sunday.
“It’s a great opportunity to be recognized as a developing leader. And there’s an element of personal development about it, too. But I’m on the side as a batsman first and foremost and then as a keeper. You have to be able to perform at that top-level consistently in those roles first.
“I just have to make the most out of every opportunity. For me, as a player, my focus is on being in that T20 World Cup squad.”
Last summer, Billings ‘hopes of making England’s 50-over World Cup squad were dashed by a dislocated shoulder that he sustained while playing at Glamorgan for Kent.
The 28-year old scored 87 out of 47 balls in his previous outing in England, in a T20I in March against West Indies, and is looking to “Continue that momentum” in New Zealand when the series starts in Christchurch on November 1.
“I’ve been on the fringes for the last four or five years,” added Billings, Who scored twin hundreds against Yorkshire in Kent’s penultimate season Specsavers county championship match.
“I’ve made some performances along the way, but we have such depth in our squad in terms of batsmen and keepers.”
England’s T20Is in New Zealand
- 1st T20I – 1 am, Friday, Nov 1
- 2nd T20I – 1 am, Sunday, Nov 3
- 3rd T20I – 1 am, Tuesday, Nov 5
- 4th T20I – 5 am, Friday, Nov 8
- 5th T20I – 1 am, Sunday, Nov 10
“Even though that innings in the West Indies was a long time ago, it’s about continuing that momentum in an England shirt”.
“For me, it’s about enjoying it and it’s good to be back playing. The injury has given me some perspective.”
England T20 squad: Eoin Morgan (Middlesex) captain, Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Tom Banton (Somerset), Sam Billings (Kent), Pat Brown (Worcestershire), Sam Curran (Surrey), Tom Curran (Surrey), Joe Denly (Kent), Lewis Gregory (Somerset), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire), Dawid Malan (Middlesex), Matt Parkinson (Lancashire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), James Vince (Hampshire).