Jos Buttler reflects on England’s ‘fantastic’ progress on return to Adelaide

Jos Buttler marvelled at England’s white-ball journey in the last few years as they attempt to lay the ghosts of Adelaide 2015 to rest in their T20 World Cup semi-final against India.

Buttler admitted a loss to Bangladesh here that confirmed a humiliating 50-over World Cup group stage exit seven years ago has been discussed among England’s senior players upon their return to the city.

The current set-up includes several individuals who featured on that dark day for English cricket, including Buttler, but the setback marked a watershed moment for their limited-overs fortunes.

Eoin Morgan ushered in a stunning transformation before passing on the reins to Buttler, and England are now just two wins away from becoming the first side to hold both ODI and T20 World Cups simultaneously.

“We’ve actually just been talking about that (Bangladesh game) in the dressing room,” Buttler said. “Anytime you go back to certain grounds, there’s some memories and not always good ones, unfortunately.

“It was a real line-in-the-sand moment in English white-ball cricket and to be now in a semi-final and going to tournaments with a level of expectation that we should perform well is a great place to be.

“It’s been clear to see the change in mindset of English cricket towards the white-ball game and especially the way we’ve played. It’s given us better results.

“That gives us a lot of trust in that process that it works. It seems an ingrained way of playing now in English cricket. So it’s been a fantastic journey to be involved in.”

England won the 2019 World Cup - four years after a humiliating group stage exit (Nick Potts/PA)
England won the 2019 World Cup – four years after a humiliating group stage exit (Nick Potts/PA)

England have reached at least the semi-final stage of every International Cricket Council event since 2015, but their lone global success in that time was the 2019 50-over World Cup on home soil.

They are regarded as slight underdogs to reach Sunday’s marquee match at the MCG, but Buttler insisted he will do things his way after being asked whether he asks for advice from his predecessor as captain.

“I speak to Eoin quite a lot,” Buttler said. “He’s one of my great mates, so I’m always in touch with him. But it’s very much about doing it my way. Eoin is not the captain of England anymore.

“I have to take that on myself and be myself in the tournament. We’re very much in a new time of England cricket and white-ball cricket without him now as the leader.”

England will make late decisions on both Dawid Malan and Mark Wood, with the pair doubtful to face India. Malan tweaked his left groin last weekend, while Wood has felt general body stiffness.

Dawid Malan is a major doubt to face India (Dan Himbrechts/PA)
Dawid Malan is a major doubt to face India (Dan Himbrechts/PA)

They performed a few shuttle runs on the Adelaide Oval outfield at Wednesday’s practice away from the main group, while Wood bowled a dozen deliveries in the nets without looking like he was at full tilt.

However, Wood seems likelier to play than Malan, who was seen having a couple of gentle throwdowns as the net session wound towards a close as he batted for the first time since suffering his injury.

“We will see how they pull up,” Buttler said. “We trust the medical team, we trust the two guys as well. We will give them as long as possible.

“You need guys to be fit to participate in the game. I think in all sports you have players that don’t always play at 100 per cent, but of course you have to be able to fulfil your role in the team.”

Phil Salt, pictured, is poised to replace Malan (Mike Egerton/PA)
Phil Salt, pictured, is poised to replace Malan (Mike Egerton/PA)

Phil Salt is England’s spare batter and seems the likeliest replacement if Malan is unavailable, but Chris Jordan is an option if England preferred to bolster their bowling – as well as their fielding.

Jordan would likely be selected ahead of left-armers Tymal Mills and David Willey if Wood misses out ahead of a match in which England will be confronted with a used pitch.

While England have fielded the same XI throughout the tournament, Buttler is convinced whoever plays on Thursday will be able to handle the magnitude of the occasion.

“I have full faith in every member of our squad,” Buttler added. “We’re all really excited about the match. It’s going to be a great occasion, these are the times you want to be involved as a player.”