India thrashing 'counts for nothing' in T20 World Cup final: Buttler

England skipper savours chance to realise childhood dream

By: AFP
Published: 09:58 AM, 12 Nov, 2022
India thrashing 'counts for nothing' in T20 World Cup final: Buttler
Caption: England captain Jos Buttler.
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Skipper Jos Buttler says the emphatic way England crushed India to reach Sunday's Twenty20 World Cup final "doesn't count for anything" as they bid to become champions in both white-ball formats.

India were humbled by 10 wickets in the semi-finals with Buttler's composed 80 and Alex Hales's blistering 86 setting up a blockbuster showdown with Babar Azam's Pakistan.

The England opener said Saturday there was "a huge amount of excitement" for the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, although it could be affected by rain. A reserve day has been set aside on Monday, but the forecast is equally gloomy.

England continue to have injury worries over Dawid Malan and fast bowler Mark Wood, who both missed Thursday's semi-final. Buttler said they were "both improving".

"Obviously there's not many days since the semi-final, but we are giving them every chance," he added.

Phil Salt and Chris Jordan are again the likely replacements should they not recover.

Despite the weather and injury concerns, Buttler was in buoyant mood in his pre-match press conference.

"Any time you get a chance to play in a World Cup final is a huge honour. We're really excited as a group, there's a nice feel around the team," he said.

"The previous performance (against India) gives us a lot of confidence, but it doesn't count for anything.

"Tomorrow we start a fresh game against a really tough opposition and any time you are fighting for a trophy you know it isn't going to come easy.

"So we will focus on them a little bit and on us a lot and what we need to do to prepare well today to turn up tomorrow and do the best we can."

England head into the game as the current one-day world champions after their 2019 triumph at home against New Zealand.

Buttler was on the winning team, as were Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid and Wood, all stalwarts of the side now in the T20 World Cup final.

He said the experience of winning a world title would help them on Sunday.

"Yes, I think any experiences you can draw on, good or bad, you will have learned from those and can reflect on those when you are in a situation of adversity or chaos," he said.

"Those are things that can happen in a World Cup final so the more experience and being able to understand those feelings and how to react to them, I definitely see that as a benefit."

- Fantastic team -

While England's batting runs deep, how they fare could come down to the top order fending off the threat posed by Pakistan pace spearheads Mohammad Nawaz and Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Pakistan bouncing back after losing their opening World Cup matches to India and Zimbabwe was largely down to the starts given by their new-ball attack.

They have the second-best economy rate at the tournament in the six-over powerplay, a factor Buttler is aware of.

"They have a fantastic team who have a very long history of producing excellent fast bowlers, and I see the team we are up against as no different," said Buttler.

"I'm sure by the end of their careers some of the players we are playing against will go down as some of the best Pakistan have produced.

"That's a huge part of why they are in the final, so we expect a really tough challenge."

Childhood dream

Jos Buttler used to fantasise about captaining England to cricketing glory when he played with his siblings in their garden as a child. Now the dream is on the cusp of coming true.

The dynamic wicketkeeper-batsman will lead England in the Twenty20 World Cup final on Sunday against Pakistan in Melbourne in his first major tournament since succeeding Eoin Morgan as white-ball skipper.

"I've certainly had a few dreams about that kind of thing," said the 32-year-old on Saturday.

"Of course I think it really links back to what you were like as a kid, the kind of things you would be doing in the garden with your brother and sister, pretending to lift a trophy.

"And now to be able to have the opportunity, to have a chance, to live that kind of thing out is incredibly special."

As he prepares for his biggest day as a captain, Buttler admitted those childhood memories had come flooding back.

"I think it's fine to sort of think about those things and what it might feel like or what it would mean," he said of potentially being a World Cup-winning captain.

"They're certainly feelings I don't feel like I need to try and block out or push away.

"You almost accept those kind of things as like accepting the noise that comes with a World Cup final, accepting that it feels a little bit different.

"But once you've accepted those things, it's about focusing on the things that you know will serve us well as a group and as a team, as an individual what you need to do to prepare to play your best game of cricket tomorrow."

Buttler's appointment as skipper in July came just days after Morgan announced his retirement from international cricket.

Morgan oversaw England's white-ball revival following their embarrassing first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup.

Buttler, who was Morgan's vice-captain, says he feels like he is leading another new era after Morgan's retirement.

"Hopefully I've got more time ahead myself as a captain and with (coach) Matthew Mott we can hopefully shape the next era of English white-ball cricket," he said.

"Of course we're still reaping the rewards of Eoin Morgan's tenureship and the changes that have happened in the white-ball game in England, and that's clear to see in the strength and depth of the talent we now have in the white-ball game in England.

"We're very much right in the back of that wave, of course, but there's a bit of a new direction as well."

Categories : T20 World Cup
AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.