Cricket

Jos Buttler Puts England’s Fraught ODI World Cup Title Defence In The Rearview Mirror

Jos Buttler oversaw the abject defence of England’s 50-over World Cup crown in India in October 2023, which raised questions about his captaincy and the credentials of white-ball head coach Matthew Mott

Jos Buttler at an event to promote Major League Baseball coming to London in June, 2024. Photo: MLB Europe/Getty/Handout/PA
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England white-ball captain Jos Buttler feels recharged and fully motivated to improve in all areas after a disappointing 2023. (More Cricket News)

Buttler oversaw the abject defence of England’s 50-over World Cup crown in India in October, which raised questions about his captaincy and the credentials of white-ball head coach Matthew Mott.

A 3-2 T20I series defeat in the Caribbean followed but Buttler has managed to unwind since with a string of strong displays in South Africa’s franchise league helping him move on and turn the focus to putting things right at this summer’s T20 World Cup in the West Indies and United States.

“I am really enjoying my cricket again and that was a big part of South Africa. Finding that love for batting again and spending time in the middle or on the field,” Buttler reflected.

“Weirdly in that time in India going through really tough periods, there are actually levels of enjoyment with that of, ‘can we fix it, can we make it better, can we get back to the level we know we’re capable of’?

“So all those things are quite motivating even though they are very tough at the time. Looking ahead to the World T20 is really exciting and has a lot of full focus but for me beyond that, I still feel as a batter this should be the best years of my career.

“I still feel fit, still feel motivated and as a leader and captain. I am still pretty young in that journey so I certainly have lots and lots of motivation to carry on for a while yet.”

Buttler’s next assignment will be the Indian Premier League, which starts next week, but he will be back in England before the franchise tournament ends to firmly begin final preparations for the World Cup with a four-match T20I series against Pakistan.

After England won the T20 World Cup in Australia at the end of 2022, Buttler’s white-ball team have experienced a big fall from grace, losing series in South Africa, Bangladesh and the West Indies alongside the crushing World Cup defence in India.

He admitted: “I think it’s important to recognise we haven’t won as many games as we’d have liked.

“I look at my own performance and even if there were certain things going on and I was feeling terrible, I would still back myself to play a bit better than I did individually and the same goes for us as a team (in India).

“You can fall off a little bit but how poorly we did play is and always will be a little bit of a mystery.

“It has been my sort of want as a player the whole time I have been playing to improve and get better – to always chase something more and that’s got to be exactly the same for my captaincy. To learn from those really tough moments.

“It probably took a lot more out of me than I realised and from the outside, maybe my image of how I was looking probably was even worse than it was in the inside, so that’s an interesting learning. It is just about putting things in place to learn from that and to get better.

“There is always something coming around the corner as well in cricket so it’s about moving on, planning, looking ahead and just improving.”

Buttler revealed he watched some of England’s recent Test series in India and expressed his delight at seeing Ben Stokes with the ball in hand again, acknowledging it would be “really exciting” if the Test skipper could become a genuine all-rounder again with the T20 World Cup in mind.

Buttler, holder of 57 Test caps, did also field more questions about his own red-ball prospects after he last played the longest format in 2021.

“No real ambitions at the minute,” the 33-year-old admitted.

“I am just really fully focused on white-ball cricket and all the stuff I am doing there, captaining England in that format.

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