AADAM PATEL: It feels as if the captaincy is weighing down Buttler

AADAM PATEL: Jos Buttler’s nightmare World Cup with the bat continued with another failure against Netherlands… it feels as if the captaincy is weighing down one of England’s greats

  • England FINALLY claimed a second win at World Cup by beating Netherlands
  • England captain Jos Buttler fell cheaply in the 160-run victory on Wednesday
  • Buttler has scored just 111 runs across eight innings at an average of 13.87 

If someone told you before the World Cup started that come the evening of November 8 on the outskirts of Pune, the Netherlands captain Scott Edwards would have more runs than England captain Jos Buttler, with one game each left, you would have probably told them to wake up. Remember, England were going to attack this World Cup and not defend it.

In the end, they have done neither but out of the myriad of reasons for their World Cup shambles, one of the most unfathomable ones is the form of their captain.

Even in a much-needed 160-run win over the Dutch to finally lift England off the foot of the table and give them something to smile about, Buttler’s horror tournament with the bat continued.

At this World Cup, England’s main man has just 111 runs across eight innings at an average of 13.87.

Late on Saturday night in the press conference room in Ahmedabad as England’s World Cup exit was officially confirmed, a drained Buttler repeatedly stressed that out of all his frustrations, his form with the bat was categorically the most frustrating.

England captain Jos Buttler fell cheaply in the 160-run victory over the Netherlands

Since his 43 against New Zealand on the first day of the World Cup, he had scores of 20, 9, 15, 8, 10 and 1, going into Wednesday’s game.

Across the tournament, he had arrived in the middle with England in moments of difficulty. 33 for three against India, 68 for three against Sri Lanka, 38 for four against South Africa, 68 for three against Afghanistan and 103 for three against Australia.

So when he walked out to bat with England 164 for four and almost half the innings left against the Netherlands, the platform was there for Buttler to find that form.

He would have watched Glenn Maxwell’s knock the night before and seen shades of himself, watching the ease at which the Australian cleared the ropes. Buttler is that calibre of player, like Maxwell, who can single-handedly take a game away from the opposition but in eight innings here, he has failed to reach 50.

On Saturday, with one run off his first six deliveries, Buttler tried to hit Adam Zampa out of the ground to ease the pressure but hit the ball straight to long-off.

Here, he had two runs off his first six balls and decided to go after Bas de Leede but was fortunate that he didn’t get a bigger edge as the ball dropped just in front of third man.

Maybe that was his reminder just to spend a few more deliveries working his way in. Even the very best in the game can go through tough patches. So, he worked the next two balls he faced off Colin Ackermann for singles. Yet that patience lasted fleetingly In the next over, he was put out of his misery. Or rather, he put himself out of his misery.

Paul van Meekeren’s first delivery of his second spell was on off stump and with mid-off up and inside the circle, Buttler couldn’t resist. As he threw his hands at it, his bat turned just like it did against Zampa and the ball went straight to Teja Nidamanuru at mid-off. Right now, England’s best white-ball player can’t buy a run.

On Sky Sports, Mail Sport’s Nasser Hussain said: ‘I’ve never seen Jos Buttler in such poor nick. 99 times out of 100, an in-nick Jos Buttler would have smashed that over mid-off. ’

That batting was the only one of his problems was thanks to Ben Stokes’s century alongside Chris Woakes’s 51 to rescue England from 192 for six and take them to an eventual match-winning total of 339 for nine.

For Buttler, there were at least plenty of smiles on the field as England eased to victory after five defeats on the trot, finished off with a stumping by himself. And there were smiles in the press conference too, where finally there was something positive to talk about on what must feel like a never-ending tour. Though deep down that frustration remained.

Buttler has scored just 111 runs across eight innings at an average of 13.87 at the World Cup

‘You want to lead from the front with your own performance, so yeah, very frustrated not to contribute again, said Buttler. ‘But I’ll stick to the stuff that has served me well over a long period of time when I’ve had these runs of form and hopefully I can come out of the side very soon,’ he added.

On Thursday, Buttler will get on England’s tenth and final internal flight across India to Kolkata and check in to their tenth and final hotel, desperate for an innings of some sort come Saturday against Pakistan.

Here, he confirmed his desire to lead England on their white-ball tour to the Caribbean next month.

But for a captain to be able to lead with conviction and make key selection decisions, delivering themselves most certainly helps. On the account of this last month in India, it feels as if leadership is weighing down one of England’s greats.

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