Jos Buttler believes England are not far away from feeling at home in 50-over cricket with less than a month to go before the World Cup begins.
With the New Zealand series now behind them, it is time for tough decisions and September 28, the deadline for a final 15-man World Cup squad, is fast approaching.
In the run-up to the 2019 tournament – which England subsequently won at Lord’s – the team had enjoyed success and over-50 cricket had not yet been sidelined or relegated to a second-tier competition.
“From 2015 to 2019 we played a hell of a lot of cricket and got games against a lot of players who hadn’t played a lot of games at the start of this cycle and we came out with a really experienced team,” Buttler said.
“After 2019, we had Covid-19 and changing schedules, etc., and those are just the facts.”
That’s how it is. We have a, I wouldn’t call it Dad’s Army, but we are an aging group.
“We have a lot of experience with this format, so it won’t be quite as long before we feel completely at home in 50-over cricket again.”
The games against New Zealand did not calm the spirits of the national team. Dawid Malan has all but secured his place on the plane to India with two stunning knocks of 96 and 127 in the last two games against New Zealand, but it hasn’t been so reassuring for Jason Roy.
Roy was a star in 2019 but questions have arisen over his fitness, particularly after he missed the last two games with a back spasm.
Buttler hinted he could play against Ireland – where the rest of the squad will be a second team – but it remains to be seen whether that would be beneficial.
“Yeah, we just have to find out… you know, the biggest frustration for him is he wants to be fit and play and influence cricket games for England, so that’s been frustrating for him,” Buttler said when asked about the opener .
“He’s worked really hard to be fit and available, but we’ve got a few days now where we can regroup… the coach, the captain, the selectors or whatever, and just work out exactly what what we have to do for the future.”
However, the majority of the England squad remains from 2019 and Buttler has picked up where Trevor Bayliss and Eoin Morgan left off.
“We have always tried to be a really loyal team and selection panel,” said the England white-ball captain.
“Eoin Morgan and Trevor Bayliss started it right from the start. If you ask people to play aggressively, let them out as soon as things go wrong. The same goes for the ball when it is hit for a few fours. It sends the wrong message.”
“We ask people to take risks so that there will be failures along the way. We have reaped the rewards of our consistent selection, so you can definitely get an idea.
“You can’t just pick a World Cup squad from these four games because there’s a lot of thought and process that goes into looking at people as a whole.
“That was one of the hallmarks of the selection, but I think we can find out all the information if necessary in the next few days and make what is always a very difficult decision.
“Right now we are blessed with so many good cricketers in the white-ball game, but in a World Cup there are only 15.”