Jos Buttler understands ‘complicated’ decision for players to skip Bangladesh
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England captain Jos Buttler feels conflicted at players swerving the upcoming tour of Bangladesh, admitting the situation creates “frustrations at certain points”.
Alex Hales, Sam Billings and Liam Dawson have all had the England and Wales Cricket Board’s blessing to prioritise Pakistan Super League stints, with none of the trio on any type of national contracts.
What they can earn in franchise tournaments dwarves the match fees they would receive in three ODIs and as many T20s next month and Buttler insisted he fully understands the rationale behind their decisions.
But chances to make an impression ahead of England’s defence of their World Cup crown in India later this year are growing scarce, and Buttler thinks it is an opportunity wasted in missing Bangladesh.
“It’s quite a unique situation,” he said. “I can understand it both ways. As an England captain, on one side you wish that everyone would see playing for England as the main thing and grab any opportunity available but there are bigger things in play as well.
“The discrepancy between what people can earn playing for England and not playing for England is quite large, so that’s a factor that must be considered and for each individual that will be a different decision made at different times of their careers.
“In this day and age, you’ve got to to try to work with it as best you can and if people make that choice to make themselves unavailable, they know they’re giving someone else a chance as well.
“It’s quite complicated, for sure, and of course there are some frustrations at certain points but I completely understand people’s positions and it’s an individual decision at the end of the day.”
David Willey has also elected to skip Bangladesh after a hectic winter travelling with England’s white-ball sides and intends to spend time with family before going to the Indian Premier League.
Buttler was adamant England would not be shutting the door on anyone but the likes of the uncapped batter Tom Abell and teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed have a chance to press their claims.
“I certainly don’t want to be in a position where you rule people out and say they’ll never play for England again or anything like that,” Buttler said.
“Wherever people are playing, we want to pick our best available team, especially for World Cups and big ICC events, so we are open-minded.”
There was no thought of resting Jofra Archer, who made his England comeback after 22 injury-plagued months in the 2-1 series defeat against South Africa, taking a career-best six for 40 in the third ODI.
“That’s the big picture for Jofra,” Buttler said. “He wants to play. When he’s come back and he’s fit, and there’s cricket available, it doesn’t seem to make sense to hold him back.
“He certainly needs to be playing cricket in my opinion. You are always going to try to look after him and we will be guided by the medical team, and guided by him as to how he’s feeling.
“But he has been sat on the sidelines for a long time and so if he’s fit and available personally it makes sense for him to be playing cricket.”
ODIs have taken a backseat to Tests and T20s since England claimed a maiden 50-over global trophy in 2019, with Joe Root making just 15 appearances in that format since that unforgettable triumph.
It is part of a worldwide trend as the longest and shortest international formats get more prominence but Buttler suspects the World Cup might be a shot in the arm for the overlooked ‘middle child’.
“It’s a great example for guys watching that haven’t played a lot of cricket, that this still happens in 50-over cricket, it’s not all just an elongated T20,” Buttler said.
“For a long time 50-over cricket was my favourite. Come a World Cup especially, when you look back at the 2019 World Cup, some brilliant games of cricket there, I’m sure there will be fantastic games in India later this year, it does remind you what a good format it is.”
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