England's ODI relaunch began with much promise but still signs of a post-World Cup hangover in the West Indies on Sunday, with captain Jos Buttler admitting his own dreadful run of form has become a major concern.
A much-changed England side suffered a four-wicket defeat in Antigua, as Shai Hope's unbeaten century anchored the home side's chase of 326 with seven balls to spare.
A new-look opening partnership of Phil Salt and Will Jacks had given the tourists a flying start, while Zak Crawley (48 off 63) and Harry Brook (71 off 72) also impressed. But Buttler's three from 13 deliveries saw the skipper pick up where he left off during the limp World Cup defence in India. The 33-year-old averaged just 15 across nine matches in the tournament and has not passed 50 in 13 innings.
"It's disappointing, frustrating and gone on for a lot longer than I would have liked, but there's only myself who can score my own runs," Buttler said. "I'm not going to score any if I hide away and don't get out there. You keep working hard, you keep putting the effort in and trust that it will turn around."
As well as Jacks and Salt, teenager Rehan Ahmed was among the newcomers to impress, the spinner taking two for 40 from his 10 overs.
In all, England's XI included six players who did not feature during the World Cup, and there could be further experimentation when the three-match series continues in Antigua on Wednesday, with the likes of Ollie Pope and quick John Turner among those waiting in the wings.
"There's some young guys in that team who have not played loads and loads of one-day cricket, they'll learn a lot from this," Buttler added.
"A lot of stuff we did really, really well; not well enough to win the game in the end, but guys will be better for the experience, learn plenty from that and come back for the next one.
"We just didn't quite close it out. There's no need to panic, we've done a lot of things really well. There's guys who have gained experience from this and we look forward to the next one."