English cricketer Sam Billings has defended his decision to play in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) instead of touring Bangladesh with the national side due to lack of opportunities and financial benefits for non-centrally contracted players.
Billings, who was part of the Lahore Qalandars’ side that defended its title in PSL 8, explained, why he chose to play in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) over touring Bangladesh with the national team. In his recent interview, Billings pointed to the issue of contract situations and better financial prospects for non-centrally contracted players.
“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)”, he said.
While he proclaimed his loyalty to the national duty, Sam Billings also revealed that he has finally decided to put his own interests first.
“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. 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,” said Billings.
“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,” he added.
He further admitted that the offers made by the T20 leagues are too attractive for players to always ignore and that the boards should also consider players’ interest.
He 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.”
Billings’ comments shed light on the ongoing conflict between the financial incentives offered by T20 leagues and the commitment to national duty. It is clear that the issue of player contracts is having a significant impact on the choices that cricketers make regarding their careers.