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Eng vs Pak, 1st T20I – Jos Buttler backs England to learn from 50-over World Cup debate

Jos Buttler, the captain of England, has backed his players to put the disappointment of defending the World Cup with 50 overs to one side as they are determined to maintain the type of 20 overs that they won in Australia two winters ago. However, he insisted that their failure in India before Christmas could not be attributed solely to the “lack of clarity” of the team management.

Despite being considered one of the favorites for the 2023 World Cup, England have lost six of their first seven matches – including a nine-wicket loss to New Zealand in the tournament opener; a historic defeat to Afghanistan, and a record defeat to South Africa by 229 runs – and seven out of ten overall. Only two late wins against the Netherlands and Pakistan have spared them the embarrassment of qualifying for the 2027 Champions Trophy.

Buttler, meanwhile, has endured a poor batting campaign, conceding 138 runs at 15.33 in nine matches, with some critics suggesting his struggles with form have affected his connection to the team. However, speaking to Sky Sports after the first T20I against Pakistan, he defended his leadership, insisting that England’s problem was simple: “We didn’t play well enough”.

“The biggest lesson for me is to try not to confuse freedom with maybe not being clear,” he said after being left at Headingley. Sometimes you try to let the players play freely and you don’t want to get too involved. But you have to make sure you don’t miss things.

“It’s possible [there could have been] more communication at times, to ensure that people are clear on what is required of them. But there are certainly times when I look back and say maybe I could make the same decisions in certain situations, and for whatever reason, they don’t work out.

“Even if it wasn’t clear, whatever you want to call it, I would have expected us to do better than we did. It’s easy to look at the results and say there are some things you can do differently or say differently. We didn’t play well enough.

“A chapter in the book, obviously it was a really disappointing World Cup and your pride and confidence is a little bit lost, but time flies, and this is an exciting opportunity now that this World Cup is coming.”

Responding to his former captain and fellow 2019 World Cup winner Eoin Morgan, Buttler was upbeat when asked if England could find a way to bounce back from the difficulties in their 20-over defense – as they were forced to do after the defeat. it’s Ireland. in a rain-affected team match at the MCG in the 2022 campaign.

“I don’t see why not,” he said. “You sit here and talk like nobody knows what’s going on. I’m sure there are experienced players who know how cricket works, and know how to play T20 cricket.

“I don’t think it’s about trying to reinvent the wheel, or trying to give people messages that they haven’t heard before. It’s about playing quality cricket. In tournament cricket, you have to play very hard times. You have to come back from adversity really well. You have to learn the game and play well, and be able to adapt.

“There may be games where you need to score more than 200, there may be games where you need to stop and try to defend 140, on a wicket that is still and difficult to bat on.”

England got a valuable insight into the possible conditions in the tournament when they faced the hosts West Indies in a tough five-match T20I series before Christmas. West Indies won the decider to take the series 3-2, but only after England fought back to lose 2-0. Their standout player was Phil Salt, who cemented his position as Buttler’s opening partner for centuries, and has since parlayed that form into an impressive IPL campaign with the Kolkata Knight Riders.

“We have a really good team put together,” Buttler said. “We have a lot of experience but some top-class guys, like Phil Salt, Will Jacks and Harry Brook, who is just starting his international career. Those guys are really trending to guide and push this team forward.”

Early in his international career, Salt used to give away his innings after a strong start. However, a mid-tournament fifty and 48 runs in five innings, all achieved at a strike rate between 189 and 342, confirmed his newfound ability to balance power with endurance.

“One of the best things about him is that he has an insatiable desire to learn,” said Butler. “He’s not afraid to ask questions. He’s always looking for feedback. In every training session, he’s clearly trying to work on something to improve.

“Personally, I see that he has improved his offside game a lot,” he added. “He’s always been very strong on the leg side. But when I watched him come back in the IPL especially, I thought he was very difficult to bowl, because he scored freely off-side and he’s never going to lose the leg-side game once.

“One of his things in the past would have been those 30 points in 15, or 25 in 10, but he’s been able to continue to extend those innings, which shows a lot of maturity. He can be one of the real key players for us.”

England’s campaign begins against Scotland on June 4 in Bridgetown, the venue where they played the first of five T20Is in December. England have enlisted the help of Kieron Pollard as batting mentor in their campaign, and Buttler is confident that the team’s preparations will help them account for themselves.

“The conditions are there, wickets can go slow,” Buttler said. “Spin will play a big role there, and more speed. I think the wind has a big effect on those islands as well. But one thing people will have to react to quickly in that World Cup is the early start. , about 10 or 10.30 starts. Most of the time you play cricket night in T20s, so it’s trying to learn from that.”

Andrew Miller is the UK editor for ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket

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