England’s Jos Buttler hit three handsome sixes en route to a 20-ball 30 against the West Indies at the Wankhede on Wednesday. Alas his cameo, much like that of Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes, went in vain. You know why!
A day later, the wicketkeeper-batsman offered an explanation that bordered on the philosophical. Lest we forget, England can’t afford any more slip-ups in its campaign. It will be up against a power-packed South Africa at the same venue on Friday evening.
“Yeah, obviously we came up against a great innings from someone who can do that,” Buttler said of Gayle’s knock. “We weren’t the first side and we certainly won’t be the last, either. I think it highlights that you really have to be 100 per cent on your game against someone who’s capable of that sort of an innings, and we’ve got very small margins. With the bat, we were probably par (for the course), at best. We were looking more for than 200 and needed someone to go on and play that innings. But there are plenty of good things we did. We have to park that game, we know it’s gone now, and to advance in this tournament we need to focus all our energy on the next game,” he said.
Pointing out the sheer cruelty of the format as well as of the tournament in which one bad day could prove costly enough, Buttler said, “You come to these tournaments, and you know they’re hard games. Especially the format, (if you have) to go to the semifinals you’ve got to win games. That’s tournament cricket. If we lose one game and win five in a row and win the World Cup, we’d be happy with that.”
So, how does England plan to bounce back? “You just have to take it as it comes. You do the same things. It’s still a game of cricket, you have the same emotions and the same thought processes. The outcome could potentially be more defining on the tournament. But it’s still 20 overs, it’s still 22 yards, and we’ve got to focus on that and learn from what happened last night. The conditions, playing in this stadium, take all those things and take that into the game, and really improve on those areas that we have to improve on. Because playing against good teams, you’ve got to be right up there on your game to win these matches,” he explained.
Talking about the morale of the team, Buttler said, “I think it’s about putting a bit of perspective on it. Cricket’s not the be-all and end-all (of life). That game’s done and gone, and whether you’ve played in world tournaments or not, we’ve had bad experiences in cricket, and it’s exactly the same. You learn from them, you move on from them. Ten months ago, at the World Cup, were some of the worst feelings I’ve ever had on a cricket field. But you still come back from them, just dust yourself down and go again. So, it seems quite easy to do that. And we’ll be really focused on tomorrow. It’s going to be a very exciting game. Guys who are inexperienced are just loving the thought of playing the World Cup and playing these big games, especially in India where cricket is just so high-profile. It’s a great place to come and play. We’ve got characters in that dressing room that enjoy that occasion and will stand up to it, and will look to take the game on tomorrow.”
Buttler, who will turn out for Mumbai Indians in the IPL, also rued the absence of too many England stars playing in the cash-rich league. “It’s a shame not more players can get in… But, the IPL is a fantastic tournament, watching on from afar and then learning on these pitches from the best players in the world. There’s no way you are not going to improve or find out new things, and hopefully in the years to come we will get more players involved in it,” he said.
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