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Sam Billings: 'New generation of stars will emerge from The Hundred'

Sam Billings: 'New generation of stars will emerge from The Hundred'
© Reuters
Sam Billings will lead his franchise in the first-ever game of the 100-ball tournament.

Oval Invincibles captain Sam Billings believes The Hundred will propel a new generation of stars towards stardom – and tips team-mate Will Jacks to lead the charge.

Twenty-four hours on from the women's launch, Billings will lead his franchise out in the counterpart fixture against Manchester Originals in the first-ever match of the men's 100-ball tournament.

With a bumper crowd expected at the Kia Oval and the eyes of the cricketing world tuning in to see how the England and Wales Cricket Board's experiment lands, some players will be stepping out on the biggest stage of their careers.

Middlesex v Surrey – Vitality Blast T20 – Lord's
Will Jacks has been picked to excel in The Hundred (John Walton/PA)

And while the Invincibles boast a healthy share of international talent – including Billings, Jason Roy, Sunil Narine, the Curran brothers and Saqib Mahmood – there are others waiting to announce themselves to the wider world.

One of those is big-hitting Surrey all-rounder Jacks, who remains uncapped by England despite his recent call-up to the one-day squad.

"I would definitely like to be the guy to make a splash, but there is international quality right through our side, and we've got quite a few in this dressing room who will want to be that main man," Billings told the PA news agency.

"Will Jacks has been in the form of his life and this could be the launch pad for him. I'll be really excited to see what he can do about catapulting himself to another level.

"That's what we'll see throughout this tournament, some of these young guys playing with and against the best in the world. You can go and make a name for yourself, how good is that?

"For guys who haven't had that exposure around the world in these competitions, it's going to be great. Everyone will learn so much. I've benefited from being in those environments hugely over the last few years. Then there's someone like Jordan Cox, an exciting talent I've spent a lot of time with at Kent, he could really fly on the back this experience."

Billings is known as an innovative and instinctive batter, boasting one of the widest stroke-making repertoires on the circuit. But even he feels that with 20 balls fewer per innings than a Twenty20 match, the sport is ready to move on again.

"You can never hit the limits. It will always keep progressing and there will always be ways to move the game forward," he said.

"We've even seen some of the older guys starting to reverse paddle. It started off as a normal paddle and now (right-handed) people are hitting left-handed shots as a normal option. With things like that it will keep moving forward...it has to. We'll keep pushing the boundaries in this new format."

Phil Salt wants to be one of the first to make a name for himself
Phil Salt wants to be one of the first to make a name for himself (Martin Rickett/PA)

Phil Salt will be on the opposing side to Billings and is eager to have the honour of facing the first ball of the men's tournament, even if it ends up making him a trivia subject in the future.

As he showed in his debut series as an England player against Pakistan, he is more than willing to swing hard from the first moment despite the inherent risks.

"At least if I get out first, I'll be the answer to a brilliant pub quiz question in 10 years," he said.

"But I'd love it to be me going out there and getting a big score in the first match and winning it for my side. It's brilliant to be playing first game, a really exciting thing to be part of because the world's eyes are going to be on it.

"Scoring a hundred in The Hundred? That's the dream ticket. That would be impressive going but I'm sure it's been done a few times in the first hundred balls of a T20. If you get off to a flier and find a couple of match-ups you like, it's possible. I'd just love it to be me or one of the guys from our side."

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina22131247
United StatesUnited States19201352
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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