AADAM PATEL: Jos Buttler reflects on England’s disastrous World Cup defence after being knocked out by Australia as India become favourites for the title
- Jos Buttler expressed deep frustration in his post-match press conference
- Buttler’s future in international cricket remains uncertain for the England captain
- Australia knocked out England 286-253, knocking England out of tournament
In his seven-minute post-match press conference in Ahmedabad after England were officially knocked out of the World Cup, Jos Buttler used the words frustrated, frustrating and frustration no fewer than nine times.
Frustration with pretty much everything in England’s truly abysmal World Cup defence and specifically, his own batting.
When things aren’t going for you, even the simple things seem tough and the England captain’s dismissal against Australia, on an evening when England’s World Cup reign came to an end, summed up the story of his miserable tournament,
‘My own performances have probably been the most frustrating thing,’ said Buttler. ‘To be sat here having had the tournament I’ve had is incredibly frustrating,’ he added. ’The frustration just grows and adds,’ he went on.
Against India in Lucknow last Sunday, Buttler had got himself to 10 off 22 deliveries before he was undone by arguably the ball of the tournament from Kuldeep Yadav.
Jos Buttler (right) and his England side have been knocked out of the World Cup
India’s Kuldeep Yadav, celebrates the wicket of England’s captain Jos Butler with Shreyas Iyer
Australia officially ended England’s dismal campaign by earning a 33 run win over their rivals
The kind of delivery that would have bowled many a batter as it pitched outside the off stump before gripping off the pitch to turn through the gate and crash into Buttler’s middle stump.
So as Adam Zampa lofted up a delivery that barely span and that in most circumstances, you would expect Buttler to dispatch into the stands, his bat horribly turned as he connected with the ball and his skewed drive nestled safely in the hands of Cameron Green at long-off.
Maybe it was the impact of Zampa. In nine ODI innings against him, he averages 8.6 and has now got out five times though Buttler attributed it to mis execution insisting that he ‘didn’t manage to play the shot correctly.’
Maybe it was the pressure just shifting up a notch, having watched Ben Stokes play out a maiden to Pat Cummins in the over before. Buttler said he ‘wanted to try and put some pressure back on the opposition’ with England 106 for three at the halfway stage.
Yet the equation was still more than manageable with 181 needed off 150 deliveries and seven wickets still in hand on a pitch where England knew that the deeper they took the game, the more chance they would have given the dew at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
Or it was ultimately the result of the weight of captaincy on a scrambled mind. From the moment England named their World Cup squad then decided that it wasn’t their final squad, Buttler has been faced with decision after decision from brutally letting Jason Roy know that he would no longer be going to India to deciding to drop vice-captain Moeen Ali after England’s opening day defeat. And that was all before any of England’s last five successive defeats since their sole win here against Bangladesh, 26 days ago.
To follow up after Eoin Morgan is no easy feat but the difference is evident.
Whereas Morgan’s emotions could rarely be figured behind his ice-cool exterior, Buttler has visibly worn the pain of this campaign and as he made the long and lonely walk up the sheltered stairs and back into the dressing room, he must have wondered whether this feeble attempt at a World Cup defence could get any lower. There’s every chance it could, against the Netherlands on Wednesday.
The defeat will pile more pressure on England captain Buttler and head coach Matthew Mott
England have struggled with the bat during their dismal defence of the World Cup title in India
Asked whether the captaincy had taken its toll on his batting, Buttler denied before further talking about his frustration.
‘Of all the things that have happened on this trip, I’d say my own form has been my biggest frustration, because you want to lead from the front as a captain,’ he insisted.
With just 106 runs in seven games, averaging 15 and a high score of 43, Buttler has been a shadow of himself with the bat.
Throughout the tournament, he has arrived at the crease with England in moments of difficulty. 33 for three against India, 68 for three against Sri Lanka, 38 for four against South Africa and 68 for three against Afghanistan. At 103 for three against Australia, the situation wasn’t hugely dissimilar, but England were well and truly in the game. It was a moment where they needed Buttler the batter but they got Buttler the captain.
A man with a million thoughts racing through his mind and no semblance of the clarity of mindset or the consistency of sheer quality with which he built his reputation as one of the best white-ball batters in the world.
Thirty days after England’s defeat to New Zealand at the same venue in the tournament opener, Buttler was asked at the end of the press conference how he felt personally, given England had lost five on the trot.
Ben Stokes was caught sweeping off the bowling of Australian spinner Adam Zampa
England were given a faint hope when Pakistan earned a miraculous win over New Zealand
‘I’m having a great time, thanks’ he uttered, with hardly the sign of a man who believed what he was saying.
‘Yeah, frustrated. Yeah, disappointed. Yeah, all of the above,’ he carried on.
The time for frustration and disappointment is now but in a week’s time when England are finally put out of their misery as they get the plane out of India, frustration won’t quite cut it and decisions will have to be made.
Having led England to the T20 World Cup last winter in Australia, he has earned the right to defend that crown next summer but Buttler will be 37 when the 2027 ODI World Cup comes around. And given the events of the last four weeks, perhaps that decision is one that he may not have to make.
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