Jos Buttler wants to lead England re-build
Jos Buttler is keen to stay on as captain and lead England’s ODI rebuild as he prepares for a World Cup post-mortem with director of cricket Rob Key.
Key has flown out to India for the second time, having been part of the touring party earlier in the tournament, and will begin the process of picking the bones out of a miserable title defence with Buttler and head coach Matthew Mott in the coming days.
A 160-run win over Netherlands in Pune on Wednesday gives them something positive to talk about after five successive defeats and put England back on track for Champions Trophy qualification in 2025 ahead of their final game against Pakistan.
There have been questions over the leadership of the side in India, which Key may wish to examine more closely, but Buttler has made it clear he wants to lead what will be a much-changed squad when it tours the West Indies next month.
Asked if he would be travelling as skipper, Buttler said: “Yeah, I’d like to. I know Rob Key arrives into India (last night). We can have some good conversations with him and the coach and make a plan for that tour. But, yes, I would like to.
“I’m competitive, I want to win any game I play, whether it’s a game of cards or a game of cricket.
“So I’m delighted with this win. It’s been a frustrating time, not winning games of cricket or playing as well as we’d like, I’m delighted with this win.”
Match-winner Ben Stokes, whose backs-against-the-wall 108 set England up for victory, will not be going to the Caribbean as he heads for a knee operation at the end of the tournament.
Some, including his friend and former team-mate Steve Harmison, felt Stokes should have been sent home for surgery as soon as the semi-finals were out of reach but his presence carried the side through a familiar batting wobble against the Dutch.
At one stage they had slipped from 133 for one to 192 for six and, without Stokes’ bullish knock, would have fallen far short of their winning mark of 339.
The man himself told the post-match presentation “I don’t leave anyone hanging” and Buttler said an early exit was never on the cards.
“No, we haven’t had any conversations like that. It’s not Ben’s style at all,” he said.
“He’s committed, he wants to play and he wants to put in performances like you saw here. Anytime you need someone to stand up when the team’s under pressure, he’s had a history of always doing that for whoever he’s playing for.
“We’re very lucky to have him in the team and I thought his innings today was exceptional.”
England head to Kolkata today, where they conclude their disappointing campaign against Pakistan at the weekend.
Their opponents still have a chance to reach the semi-finals, while Buttler’s men still need to tie down a top-eight finish to book a Champions Trophy place in 2025.
“It’s a huge game for us, vital,” he said.
“We haven’t performed the way we wanted to this whole trip, and we’d like to leave India putting in a proper performance.”