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‘Buttler still the man to lead England through turbulent time’

by Hataf Finance
10 minutes read

Venue: Ahmedabad Date: Saturday, 4 November Time: 08:30 GMT
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. The website and app will also have live text commentary and in-play video clips (UK users only)

There has been a lot of fall-out from England’s disastrous World Cup but I still believe Jos Buttler should be allowed to continue as captain.

Naturally people will be questioning whether this should be the case as the tournament continues with little to play for.

England have a turbulent time ahead after the unravelling of what has been an amazing eight years of white-ball cricket across the 50 and 20-over formats in which they are still, for the time being, dual world champions.

But I am strong in my thinking that Buttler is the man to lead England through it.

He is quietly spoken and mild-mannered but underneath the public exterior is a man that is unequivocally determined to win.

With the bat in hand he has led England to some of the most improbable victories, 110 not out against Australia in 2018 at Old Trafford to seal a series clean sweep comes to mind immediately.

There he marshalled the tail and paced an innings that almost made Justin Langer, the Australia coach, self-combust.

When Buttler is presented with a task in front of him, his ability to make the correct decisions is unparalleled among England players – hence why he has been such an important, sought after player in white-ball cricket around the world for the past 10 years.

Buttler and I played together 62 times for England but first time I saw him play live was at Lord’s during the CB40 final in 2011.

I was watching from a box in the Grandstand and saw a special talent. I immediately thought he would be a game-changer for English white-ball cricket.

Buttler came in with Somerset 79-5, scored 86 from 72 balls and was the last man out as his side posted 214. He had just turned 21.

It was evident then there was a maturity to his game and, despite his young age, there were signs he had the ability to read and influence critical situations within a game.

That is a key component of being a captain.

Captaincy in 2023 looks a lot different to captaincy in days gone by.

Berating players and creating a hostile atmosphere is a recipe for disaster. I’ve never seen it work.

You lose the respect of your contemporaries and it makes it infinitely harder to pull in the correct direction to turn it around.

Buttler was Eoin Morgan’s right-hand man between our 2015 World Cup exit and his retirement in 2022.

He was always the eyes behind the stumps, constantly relaying information to Morgan about what the correct decisions to make were at that moment in time.

He would have been Morgan’s most-trusted ally in these times.

Add the caveat that Buttler captained England to winning the T20 World Cup in 2022, he has enough credit in the bank to be able to choose whether he wants to do the job beyond this car crash World Cup, or not.

I see a lot of parallels between this campaign and when Morgan was handed the hospital pass of the 2015 50-over World Cup captaincy.

Morgan was given a squad not really fit for purpose to compete with the leading teams in the world. We ended up being eliminated in the group stage after defeat by Bangladesh in Adelaide.

Clearly this team has the personnel, especially with the bat, to compete with anyone in the world but the preparation for this tournament has been average at best.

With 50-over cricket put to the back of the queue in English cricket since Buttler became captain he has not been given anything that resembles a full-strength team in any series other than New Zealand in September, which quickly turned in to the ‘Harry Brook series’.

That is a significant factor in the underperformance of this team, although not the sole factor. They should have done better.

But I see this an opportunity for Buttler, and potentially Matthew Mott if the Australian can survive these next few weeks, to be able to forge their own path in the 50-over format.

Morgan, off the back of the 2015 World Cup, quickly realised you needed a basic template to be successful in the format.

He identified the aggressive players he wanted to form the team around and composition of the bowling attack that would be able to take wickets at any stage of the innings.

In this World Cup we have seen England change personnel more than any other tournament, change the balance of their team to its detriment and make incorrect decisions at the toss that have had the air of a lack of clarity.

This is a moment in time that could sober Buttler and Mott up and give them the clarity they need to take this team by the horns, make some tough decisions and turn it in to their own.

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