England ‘want to give better account’ at T20 World Cup

Jos Buttler wants his England side to repair their wounded pride at next month’s T20 World Cup and banish memories of their 50-over title defence.

A little over six months ago Buttler’s men were double world champions but they surrendered their ODI crown with a whimper in India as they lost six of their nine group matches.

Now they are out to prove they are still a force to be reckoned with in the shorter format as they look to retain the trophy they won in Melbourne back in 2022.

A four-match series against the beaten finalists Pakistan gets under way at Headingley on Wednesday before they travel to Barbados for a main event that Buttler hopes will show England back to their best.

Reflecting on the impact of their tough tournament last time out, he said: “It’s not extra pressure but the pride was obviously dented and it was a really disappointing competition.

“But life moves on, it’s a chapter in the book and there’s lessons you learn but we’re presented with a new opportunity now, in a different format.

“We go to the West Indies and want to give a better account of ourselves. It’s a real honour to go to another World Cup as defending champions again but it also feels like a new time.”

Liam Livingstone (left) and Mark Wood (right) will both miss the first T20 against Pakistan.
Liam Livingstone (left) and Mark Wood (right) will both miss the first T20 against Pakistan (PA)

Buttler was a key voice in England’s decision to pull all of their squad members back from the Indian Premier League to prepare as a collective, rather than bowing down to the market pressures of the franchise behemoth’s knockout stage.

And, while unequivocal about his stance, he also suggested administrators should look to ring-fence the competition in future.

“As England captain, my main priority is to be playing for England,” he said. “It’s really important for us to spend this time together.

“Leading into a World Cup, your number one is performing for England and it feels like this is the best preparation. But it’s my personal opinion is there shouldn’t be any international cricket that clashes with the IPL: these games have been in the calendar a long time.”

Two of England’s 15-man squad are unavailable for the opening fixture in Leeds, with Liam Livingstone and Mark Wood both working through knee problems.

England Nets Session – Headingley – Tuesday May 21st
England’s Jofra Archer, pictured during a nets session at Headingley on Tuesday (Mike Egerton/PA)

Of the two, Wood’s is considered less serious and he was seen performing running drills during final practice on Tuesday.

His temporary absence is lessened by a return for Jofra Archer, who will make his first England appearance for 14 months and wear the shirt on home soil for the first time since September 2020.

The return of the highly rated paceman is sure to excite fans and team-mates alike, but Buttler attempted a more sober tone.

“We all know what a superstar he has been, but let’s manage those expectations,” he said. “Don’t expect too much, too soon.

“A great success would be him coming through this series with a big smile on his face and his body holding up.”

Moeen Ali will deputise for Buttler as vice-captain.
Moeen Ali, pictured, could deputise for Buttler as vice-captain (Mike Egerton/PA)

There is a question mark over Buttler’s own availability in the coming days, with his wife Louise expecting the couple’s third child soon. The vastly experienced Moeen Ali stands by the take the reins as and when required.

“My family comes first. I’ll be at the birth,” Buttler said. “I don’t think they quite tell you when they’re going to come, but we’ve got a plan in place and fingers crossed everything will go well.

“Mo has been a great leader of the teams that he’s played in, whether he’s captain or not, for a long time. He brings immense honesty, which I think is a huge strength of his. He does it with humour as well, which means he can start difficult conversations without upsetting people.

“He’s a very level guy and doesn’t get too caught up in the ups and downs of international sport. He is a great confidant for me.”


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