Jos Buttler faces agonising ODI World Cup selection decision

Jos Buttler must pick between the experienced Jason Roy or England’s next generational talent in Harry Brook for his ODI World Cup squad… as he prepares to make agonising shootout decision

  • Jos Buttler is preparing to name his final England ODI World Cup squad
  • The toughest call for Buttler is picking between Jason Roy or Harry Brook
  • For Buttler, either way it will be an incredibly tough decision to make

For England, it was a comfortable series win in the end but for captain Jos Buttler, there are perhaps more questions than he would have liked after four ODIs against New Zealand.

Buttler named a provisional 15-man World Cup squad last month but the England captain admits that his mind hasn’t been made up yet on finalising that decision, with an official announcement expected in the coming days.

‘You can’t just pick a World Cup squad from these four games because there’s a lot of thought and process that goes into it and looking into people as a whole,’ he said. 

‘That’s been one of the hallmarks of selection (since 2015) but I think we can find out all the information over the next few days if we need to and make what will always be a really tough decision. We’re blessed with so many good cricketers in the white-ball game at the moment but in a World Cup, you can only take 15,’ Buttler added.

That tough decision is effectively a shootout now between Jason Roy and Harry Brook. Between experience and youth. Between a proven matchwinner in the format and English cricket’s next generational talent.

England ODI captain Jos Buttler is preparing to name his final World Cup squad

Harry Brook is hoping to edge his way into the England team for his first ODI World Cup trip

Jason Roy will be banking on his experience to get him a place in England’s World Cup squad

In essence, 14 of the 15 initially selected should now be confident of getting on that plane to India on September 27. One of those will be Dawid Malan after a superb fifth ODI century took his career average to 61.53 in the format.

‘Every time he’s had his opportunity, not just this series but even before, he’s been incredibly consistent. So absolutely, he’s played fantastically well,’ said Buttler, when asked whether Malan had made it impossible not to pick him.

After a series that included the birth of his son and where he averaged 92.33 opening the batting, the 36-year-old is all but certain to now open alongside Jonny Bairstow when England begin their campaign against the Black Caps in Ahmedabad on October 5.

The obvious concern lies in Roy, who was informed last month that he would be part of the provisional World Cup squad, but has failed to play in any of the four games due to repeated back spasms.

And Buttler admitted that Roy is one of a handful of names who could be added to the squad for the three-match series against Ireland – which starts on Wednesday – after not risking him at all over the past week or so despite Roy’s desire to play.

‘You don’t want to risk anything but at the same time you want guys to play cricket. That’s our job to play cricket and we all want to play,’ said Buttler. The biggest frustration is for him. He wants to be fit and playing and affecting games of cricket for England. 

‘He’s been working really hard to be fit and available but we now have a few days where we can regroup… the coach, the captain, the selectors or whoever and just work out exactly what we need to do moving forward. 

‘In an ideal world, we’d have had a fully fit team to select from and give games to, but we haven’t been in that position, so that’s probably why we just need to take a day to work out exactly what we need to do before we do get on the plane to India.’

Roy was informed last month that he would be part of the provisional World Cup squad, but has failed to play in any of the four games

Brook has been hailed as England’s next generational talent after impressing across several formats

As for Brook, he has failed this mini audition after a late call-up to the series, with just 37 runs in three innings but there is little doubt about his talent and he could slot in anywhere in the order as a spare batter. With Malan showcasing his class at the top of the order, maybe that problem has already been solved.

For Buttler, either way it will be an incredibly tough decision. Does he remain loyal to the man who was such an integral part to that winning campaign in 2019 or go for the man they had initially decided to leave out.

Dawid Manalan will be confident of getting his place on the plane to India with England

Selector Luke Wright said it was ‘as hard a decision as you’re ever going to get’ at the time. Buttler may be forced into an even harder conversation.

After all, it was under his captaincy that Roy was told he wouldn’t be part of the T20 World Cup side last year. It would be a cruel twist of fate if Roy was given the dreaded news, just like David Willey was when he had to make way for Jofra Archer in 2019.

‘I wouldn’t call it Dads Army but we’re an aging group. We’ve tried to be a really loyal team and selection panel throughout,’ said Buttler after Friday’s win.

How loyal England will be is the only question left to answer before they board the flight to Guwahati.

Source: Read Full Article