Jos Buttler hopes T20 World Cup pressure will provide England inspiration against South Africa

·2-min read
Jos Buttler has yet to lead England to a series victory in either white-ball format this summer  (Action Images via Reuters)
Jos Buttler has yet to lead England to a series victory in either white-ball format this summer (Action Images via Reuters)

Jos Buttler hopes the pressure of the looming T20 World Cup will bring the best out of his England side against South Africa this week.

England’s ODI summer finished in disappointing fashion at Headingley yesterday, with rain allowing just 27.4 overs, leaving the series locked at 1-1.

Attention now turns to the final three T20 matches before England name their squad for October’s World Cup in Australia. This series, which starts in Bristol on Wednesday, also brings the curtain down on a hectic schedule of 12 white-ball matches against India and South Africa in just 25 days.

England will have to submit their World Cup squad before their tour of Pakistan in September, making this the final chance for players to impress. Buttler hopes that pressure brings the best out of his team after a stuttering month of performances.

“It would be great to get out there and play some of our best cricket, which we have been short on so far,” said Buttler. “Just that level of intensity, knowing there's a World Cup around the corner, guys trying to put themselves forward for a starting XI in a WC, which is exciting.

“It's very soon - these are the games we want to be working towards, finding out the best combinations, having in mind Australian conditions. We might not get those in these next few games but it's important to have in the back of your mind, exposing people to certain situations or give opportunities in certain areas which may not look right on the day but in three months’ time it may have a bearing.”

Buttler expressed his frustration with the schedule towards the end of an intense month in which England are yet to win a series in either white-ball format.

“It’s a frustration of mine that we don’t have any training days,” he said. “I think those training days are really important for that team cohesion, the energy within the group, the fielding drills, the camaraderie around the guys without the pressure of a game. And they’re really vital to high performance.

“A lot of the time around training is when you do your best work, away from the pressures of the game, having good conversations and having a feel for where the group is at. And not just always in game mode, preparing for guys on the day. To get the highest standard of cricket possible, you need to prepare properly.

“Hopefully that’s something we can look at. As a new captain, just having that time to bed in and do that work around your players and with your coaches. That’s been a frustration to be truthfully honest – it would be nice to have that time to do the work. But we don’t, so you just have to adapt and find the best way.”

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