Bangladesh the right challenge for England ahead of World Cup, says Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler feels in-form Bangladesh on their typically slow and low pitches present England with “exactly the kind of challenge we need” as the World Cup in India hoves into view.
A three-match one-day international series starting on Wednesday in Dhaka is England’s last offering in the format until September, when they will be fine-tuning preparations for the defence of their 50-over World Cup crown.
Captain Buttler accepts England have struggled in the past on sub-continent wickets and therefore does not want to waste an opportunity to learn in conditions that could resemble what they will face in the autumn.
They come up against a side who have been indomitable in their own backyard in recent years, winning 12 of their 13 home series dating back to the 2015 World Cup, including beating India 2-1 in December.
Their only hiccup was in 2016 against England, led for the first time by Buttler, who is expecting another hard-fought arm-wrestle on surfaces where they have occasionally come a cropper in the past.
“It will be a great challenge for us, Bangladesh are very tough to beat in their home conditions, they’ve recently beaten India here,” said Buttler.
“We only have these matches and then don’t play again until September just before the World Cup. All our preparation is geared towards that World Cup and these are the conditions that will probably be the closest that we can get to playing in India.
🗓 Feb 24 | Touchdown ✈️🗓 Feb 25 | Training 💪
Hard at work already in Bangladesh 🇧🇩 pic.twitter.com/5sJ6ngWOXf
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) February 25, 2023
“This is exactly the kind of challenge we need, with the World Cup not too far away we can test ourselves against conditions that we as a side find the hardest. It’s going to be a great measure of where we are as a team.”
England are winless in their last four ODI series but have often been unable to field their best XI as Tests and T20s have relegated the 50-over format to the bottom of the priority list.
While Joe Root and Harry Brook are unavailable because of Test duties and several more gave precedence to the Pakistan Super League, that presents opportunities to the likes of Will Jacks and Rehan Ahmed.
Jacks has flown in from New Zealand, arriving in the Bangladesh capital on Saturday to replace the injured Tom Abell, and could make his ODI debut this week. So, too, could teenage sensation Ahmed, who took a seven-wicket match haul on his Test bow against Pakistan in December.
Buttler was enthusiastic when asked about the 18-year-old all-rounder and believes any interaction with fellow leg-spinner Adil Rashid will be fundamental for his development.
“Rehan’s a really exciting talent,” said Buttler. “He’s still a very young man – just a teenager. We’re excited about his development and where we think he can go and it’s great to have him in and around the England set-up.
“Someone like Adil Rashid has been such a star performer for us for a long period of time, Rehan getting to spend time with him and discuss bowling and watching each other bowl will be a huge benefit to him and a big step in his development.
“We’re really excited to have someone with so much talent, not just with the ball, with the bat as well. We’re looking forward to watching him develop and hopefully turning himself into a brilliant international cricketer.”