Harry Brook must be in our best team now for World Cup, admits Jos Buttler… with England captain impressed by ‘calm and composed’ batsman after making the No 5 spot his own on Pakistan tour
- Brook has caused England to reconsider their best team for T20 World Cup
- The batsman has impressed by piling up 188 runs off just 108 balls on tour
- Buttler ‘desperate’ to play but is taking a cautious approach to his comeback
‘That’s exactly what you want. People showing what they can do and giving you options for the final XI,’ said England captain Buttler.
‘He has been so impressive, not just with the runs he scores but the way he scores them and his demeanour at the crease. He’s calm and composed. He’s got a lot going for his game and I have really enjoyed watching him play at close quarters.
England’s Harry Brook has made the position of No 5 his own during the T20 series in Pakistan
‘Of course, it is always going to be dependent on the conditions but someone who can bat in the middle order like he is doing at the minute, in many different situations, is seriously impressive. He is certainly putting his hand up and making a strong case for that, isn’t he? It’s just great to have such options. We have got some guys coming back in Ben Stokes and Liam Livingstone, so there are some good selection headaches.’
Brook, 23, was shaping up as one of the spare batters in the squad along with Phil Salt, when the 15 names for Australia were confirmed recently but has since made the position of No 5 his own on this tour, piling up 188 runs off just 108 balls. Indeed, such has been his prowess that Moeen Ali — leading on-field operations while Buttler recuperates — ditched plans to float up and down the order to remain at six.
Buttler says he is ‘desperate to get out there’ after succumbing to a calf issue in mid-August but is taking a cautious approach to his comeback.
He issued a warning at the start of this tour that he might not feature at all and Moeen will continue to wear the armband today, weather permitting. Pre-match practice for both teams in a series that is locked at 2-2 was cancelled yesterday after amid-afternoon deluge and further rain is forecast.
Brook has caused England to reconsider their best team for next month’s Twenty20 World Cup
Of his own fitness, Buttler said: ‘It’s not that there is anything wrong, it’s just managing coming through batting and wicket-keeping and making sure the next day that you don’t have any reactions. Hopefully if things pan out well, I will get a game but I’m not sure if I will or not at the moment.
‘It’s feeling really good and I think if I had to play, we could push it and I could but we are taking it slow with the World Cup being around the corner and me not needing to take any risks.’
Two of England’s 2019 50-over world champion bowling attack are set to be reunited at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, with Chris Woakes finally over a knee issue that has lingered since March’s Test series in the Caribbean. Mark Wood returned from a similar length lay-off to spectacular success, taking three for 24 in Karachi last Friday. They represent the success of the past but after a summer in which England’s limited-overs outfit suffered a post-Eoin Morgan hangover, failing to win any of their four home series against India and South Africa, Buttler views this period as a chance for the vision he shares with new coach Matthew Mott to come to the fore.
Buttler said: ‘I very much see this as a new era for English white-ball cricket. There is no need to tear up the way we play but this is very much a moment in time where we need to look forward.
‘Lots of players with us here played in the last era and loved that. It was a brilliant team to be in. But this team now very much needs to be one that doesn’t look back at what we used to do. It’s about what’s in front of us.
Captain Joe Buttler is ‘desperate’ to play but is taking a cautious approach to a calf issue
‘There has been a cultural shift in our white-ball cricket that has happened over time and these younger guys coming in don’t need to be told how they are going to play. It’s important not to have too many pre-conceived ideas about how you are going to do that. Yes, you need to plan, so you don’t get caught out or surprised but unless you know exactly how the game is going to go, you don’t know exactly how you need to play and that’s what I want players to be able to do. React to a situation in front of them.’
Buttler believes a fearless approach and the return of some old hands can lead to success at the T20 World Cup. ‘It shows how far we have come that we go into these tournaments and are in the conversations as a team who can win it — a team who are expected to go a long way, and reach semi-finals and finals,’ he said.
‘Of course, when you get that far you want to win trophies and we are good enough a team to be able to do that.’
Jos Buttler was speaking on behalf of Booking.com, whose research ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia next month shows that half of England supporters would travel 3,000 miles to support their team abroad.
In a survey responded to by more than 1,000 fans, 12% would be willing to miss their own wedding to join an international cricket tour.