Sports

CWC23: England have Moved On from Defeat to Afghanistan, Claims Captain Jos Buttler

Mumbai, Oct 20. Defending champion England has had ‘good conversations’ in the aftermath of its ICC Cricket World Cup upset at the hands of Afghanistan, a defeat from which captain Jos Buttler claimed on Friday that the team has moved on from.

Given England’s longest batting line-up among all teams in the competition, a target of 285 did not appear threatening halfway through the game. But Buttler and his men folded meekly for 215, succumbing to their second loss in three matches.

“We had a few days to let the defeat sink in and moved on and focused. We had some good conversations and the energy and hunger around practice last night was very high,” Buttler told the media here ahead of England’s training session at the Wankhede Stadium.

England brought its talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes out of retirement for its World Cup defence, but he has missed all three matches so far due to fitness issues.

The intensity with which Stokes trained here on Thursday and also on Friday raised hopes of Stokes finally getting his first game of this year’s World Cup, but Buttler remained non-committal.

“I’ve got so many options within the squad selection, it is always tough, and you’re working out the right balance, always venue-dependent as well, so (it has) been a good chance to see the wicket here today and gather a bit more information as well,” Buttler said in reply.

“But obviously, Ben trained really well last night. It is great to see him back. He obviously brings a lot on the field and with his presence and leadership skills as well as someone who is always good to turn to,” added the wicketkeeper-batter.

Like England, South Africa too is coming off an upset at the hands of the Netherlands in its previous assignment, and the outcome did surprise Buttler, who said Proteas have a balanced all-round side.

“Yeah, surprised. I think you are always surprised when those kind of things happen. No disrespect to the Netherlands. They played a fantastic game of cricket and deserved to win it. You always have to give credit to the opposition in that instance,” Buttler said.

“The bookies’ favourites, I’m sure, would have been South Africa on the day. But that is why sport is fantastic. It throws up these upsets.

“And, everyone is on the same field trying to compete and win the game, and you have to give credit to the opposition,” he added.

Buttler was impressed with the way South Africa has gone about its business in this quadrennial event.

“They have been playing some really good cricket. Obviously, the top six is a very strong top six, and I think pace with the ball is one of their strengths,” said Buttler.

“It is something I think both teams like as well. We have pace in both attacks, and both teams like pace on the ball so as well it should be a really fascinating contest. They are a really good team.

“You always expect tough challenge when you play against South Africa, and it’s going to be a brilliant game,” said the English skipper, who is chasing his second world title.

One of the best batters in the Indian Premier League, Buttler has got runs at the top in the competition but is manning the middle-order in the England line-up. Buttler said he has no plans to open for England.

“No, none at all. We have got some fantastic openers in our team. It is certainly a ground I have enjoyed playing at before.

“I started my IPL journey here with Mumbai as well, so it is always a place with fond memories. I think it is a fantastic cricket ground, and looking forward to playing here,” he added.

-PTI

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