Jos Buttler hails ‘new beginning’ to restore England’s tarnished white-ball image


Jos Buttler has stated his desire to take England white-ball cricket back to its previous heights, saying that he feels personal responsibility for “shaping the next period” of the format’s evolution.

Speaking after England trained for the second consecutive day at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, Buttler reflected on what has been a difficult two months, before throwing forward and highlighting the talent and excitement at the start of a “new beginning”.

“There’s some really exciting talent in this team,” Butter said. “Young guys eager to get their opportunities and perform. There’s some guys that have not been exposed to ODI cricket a lot, but have a lot of experience in Test cricket, so not necessarily new to the international game. It’s a nice blend.”

One player who particularly impressed at training was fast bowler John Turner, who bowled a barrage of bouncers at both Buttler and Harry Brook in a gut-busting spell of high-quality fast bowling. Turner doesn’t currently appear in the running for a starting spot in the first ODI, but Buttler said he was more than happy to have faced half an hour of bouncers from England’s new quick on the block.

“It was good. It’s what I want him to do,” Buttler said of the battle between the two. “There are some exciting seam bowlers, guys with good pace, some good athletes and it’s a nice time to look forward to, give guys an opportunity and see what they have got.”

Another of those seamers is Reece Topley, who joined up with the group to continue his recovery from the broken finger he sustained in the World Cup and to prepare for the T20I series next week. There is no suggestion that Topley will be made available for the ODI series.

Buttler also confirmed that Phil Salt and Will Jacks will open the batting on Sunday, but kept his cards close to his chest in regards to the balance of the bowling attack that will line up on what has appeared to be a wicket that could spin prodigiously. England coach and former Test offspinner Richard Dawson bowled throughout the session, at one stage getting the ball to rag back through Brook’s gate and clean-bowl the IPL millionaire.

“We’re gaining a lot of information from the couple of training days here,” Buttler said, though he went no further as to whether England will opt to field both specialist spinners in Rehan Ahmed and Tom Hartley.

In referring to this tour as “certainly a bit of a new beginning”, Buttler was more holistic about the context of the series than his teammate Ben Duckett had been when speaking a day earlier, with Duckett instead preferring to consider the series in little more than the here-and-now.

Buttler’s macro-approach can be attributed to a player who has been there, seen it and done it. An international debut that came when David Cameron had only just ticked off a year in No.10 Downing Street, you can forgive Buttler for speaking in the knowing tones of someone who just knows more about this subject than you do.

“We have had one bad tournament,” Buttler said on the position of English white-ball cricket, as well as what is left to motivate a man with over 300 international appearances and two World Cup titles to his name.

“It’s been in a great place for a long time and you see the depth of talent of guys coming through and you want to help shape that period of white-ball cricket. That’s something I feel responsibility and motivation for….to get England white-ball cricket back to where it’s been for a long time.”

In regards to his own learnings, Buttler emphasised the need to find balance in his own preparations that centre mainly around remembering to focus on himself as much as the team: “That’s a big learning for me, managing my own game is vital to the team and just finding different ways to do that to allow me to walk to the middle with a clear mind.

“[And] realising that sort of tournament doesn’t define you. I’ve got to use it as motivation and hunger to push myself and the team forward and take the learnings from that. Use it as a positive experience to go into the rest of my career….I always think of Ben Stokes’ words to Jofra [Archer] about the [2019] Super Over. ‘Whatever happens here doesn’t define you,’ and I certainly feel like that World Cup isn’t the defining moment for me.

“I’m at the stage of my life and career where I have got good perspective. I get home and have got two children who don’t really care about the World Cup. It certainly gives you a nice focus as a dad and those things, but I’m a very proud guy as well and have disappointments. But you know, life moves on, the world moves on pretty fast. There’s always something to look forward to. It’s never as bad as you think it is and it’s never as good as you think it is.”


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