Matthew Mott urges England to be braver in ODIs against India

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England have been challenged to “push the barriers” by Matthew Mott (Mark Pain/PA) (PA Wire)
England have been challenged to “push the barriers” by Matthew Mott (Mark Pain/PA) (PA Wire)

Matthew Mott has dared England to be bolder ahead of three one-day internationals against India after admitting they were “timid” at times in the Twenty20 series.

England’s batting will be appreciably reinforced by Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow this week, and the vim the trio may bring after a heady four Test wins this summer will be welcomed by Mott.

While the Test side are thriving, making a cakewalk of tricky fourth-innings chases, an understrength white-ball outfit stuttered in their first assignment since Eoin Morgan’s international retirement.

Chasing was a strength under Morgan but they faltered at the Ageas Bowl and Edgbaston, as India laid down a marker with three months to go until the T20 World Cup, before England won the final match at Trent Bridge.

A consolation 17-run victory on Sunday, when England piled up 215 for seven after deciding to bat first, enthused Mott, who has challenged both batters and bowlers to embrace risks moving forwards.

England’s white-ball head coach said: “What we’ve talked about was just being a bit braver and being prepared to make some mistakes. I think if anything we could have been accused of being a bit timid with the bat.

“From a batting perspective there is definitely a real attacking mindset and trying to push the barriers out there and get some big totals out there.

“And with the ball it’s more of the same as well. We’ve talked about being brave with the ball, taking some aggressive options, and then just weathering the storm when we need to.”

From a batting perspective there is definitely a real attacking mindset and trying to push the barriers out there

Matthew Mott

A fearless mindset seems to be second nature for Stokes, who has ushered in a new way of thinking for the Test side alongside Brendon McCullum, with Root and Bairstow instrumental in three wins over New Zealand and one over India.

The Yorkshire pair are both averaging over 100 this summer, while Bairstow’s strike-rate sits at a scarcely believable 100.16, and Mott is relishing the availability of all three players ahead of Tuesday’s first ODI at the Kia Oval.

Mott said: “I don’t think they’ll have to change a hell of a lot the way they’ve been playing but it is a slightly different format. They’ll have to adjust but they come in pretty hot as well.

“Having watched from the outside for a while they’re obviously world-class players and, as a coach, it’s a great opportunity to learn from some of the best players, probably in this format, of all time.

“They’ve been starved a bit of the coloured clothing and they’re looking forward to getting back into the group. I think they’ll bring some energy into the group.”

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Mott – who started his reign with a 3-0 ODI series win in the Netherlands, which included England setting a new world-record score in the 50-over format – also had warm words for Jos Buttler after a difficult past few days since succeeding Morgan as full-time white-ball captain.

Mott said: “He’s very, very well respected in that group – a very balanced person. And I think they’ll really gravitate to him as he gets his teeth into it.

“The way he responded, especially after the second loss and the series loss, I thought he spoke exceptionally well in the group about these being the times where you learn about character.”

Buttler has an onerous workload in T20s, where he juggles his captaincy duties with opening the batting and wicketkeeping, leading to speculation over whether it is sustainable in the long run.

Mott added: “Whenever you come in to take over the team when you’ve had such a dominant leader for a long time, it’s a real feeling-out process where you’re working out how you do stuff.

“I’ve been really impressed with how Jos has done that and more impressed that he hasn’t actually got the runs but has still led really well.

“That shows a lot about his character and his presence in the group. And, when he starts scoring runs, that conversation will die off pretty quickly.”

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