T20 World Cup: For England skipper Jos Buttler, it's nation first

The Rajasthan Royals star has pushed for squad members to be released ahead of the IPL play-offs

Jos Buttler poses with T20 World Cup trophy in 2022 (photo: Getty Images)
Jos Buttler poses with T20 World Cup trophy in 2022 (photo: Getty Images)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

Jos Buttler, England’s white-ball captain and an architect of their second T20 World Cup win in 2022, has his heart in the right place. It’s at his insistence that the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has asked for their national team players to be sent back by the different IPL franchises—just ahead of the League’s play-off stages—so that they can be part of a four-match T20 series against Pakistan.

The IPL play-offs and the final are scheduled for 21–26 May, dates that directly clash with the Pakistan series — seen as a valuable build-up for the World T20.

Incidentally, England had a dismal run in the last 50-overs World Cup in India, despite going into the tournament as the reigning champions wearing both the ICC white-ball crowns. They certainly don’t want to miss a beat in their preparations.

However, the unavailability of the English players to the IPL in the last week is also likely to hurt Buttler’s team here, the Rajasthan Royals, as well as the Kolkata Knight Riders (who would miss Phil Salt), the Chennai Super Kings (Moen Ali), the Punjab Kings (Sam Curran, Jonny Bairstow, Liam Livingstone) and the Royal Challengers Bengaluru (Will Jacks, Reece Topley). However, the Royals, KKR and CSK would be affected the most, as they are in line to make the play-offs.

In a recent interview, Rob Key, former England opener and ECB’s director of cricket revealed they have taken up Buttler’s suggestion. ‘’I asked him (Buttler) very early on in the piece and said, 'Look, as England captain, you’re obviously going to have this series against Pakistan. How do you see it?' And straightaway, he said: 'No, no. I want to come back and start getting ready for the World Cup in that series just before it',’’ Key told ESPNcricinfo.

Buttler, who has warmed up with two centuries in the IPL so far, will also take heart from the explosive form that Phil Salt has displayed for the Knights, along with Bairstow coming into his own for the Punjab Kings. An interesting addition to the squad is a fit-again speedster Jofra Archer, who played a key role in their 2019 triumph in the 50-overs World Cup at home. 

England start their group league campaign against Ireland—a team with a knack for upsetting the favourites in limited-overs cricket—on 4 June in Barbados.

Meanwhile, 9 of the all-time high number of 20 teams in the fray have announced their provisional squads within the 1 May deadline. The cut-off date for the final squads is 24 May; three former champions — Pakistan, West Indies and Sri Lanka — are yet to make an announcement out of those who didn’t comply with the initial deadline.

The Squads

England: Jos Buttler (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Tom Hartley, Will Jacks, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Reece Topley, Mark Wood

India: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Siraj. Reserves: Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Khaleel Ahmed and Avesh Khan.

Australia: Mitchell Marsh (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Finn Allen, Trent Boult, Michael Bracewell, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee. Travelling Reserve: Ben Sears

South Africa: Aiden Markram (c), Ottniel Baartman, Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs

Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Ishaq, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Karim Janat, Rashid Khan (c), Nangyal Kharoti, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad Malik. Reserves: Sediq Atal, Hazratullah Zazai, Saleem Safi

Canada: Saad Bin Zafar (c), Aaron Johnson, Dilon Heyliger, Dilpreet Bajwa, Harsh Thaker, Jeremy Gordon, Junaid Siddiqui, Kaleem Sana, Kanwarpal Tathgur, Navneet Dhaliwal, Nicholas Kirton, Pargat Singh, Ravinderpal Singh, Rayyankhan Pathan, Shreyas Movva. Reserves: Tajinder Singh, Aaditya Varadharajan, Ammar Khalid, Jatinder Matharu, Parveen Kumar.

Nepal: Rohit Paudel (c), Aasif Sheikh, Anil Kumar Sah, Kushal Bhurtel, Kushal Malla, Dipendra Singh Airee, Lalit Rajbanshi, Karan KC, Gulshan Jha, Sompal Kami, Pratis GC, Sundeep Jora, Abinash Bohara, Sagar Dhakal, Kamal Singh Airee

Oman: Aqib Ilyas (c), Zeeshan Maqsood, Kashyap Prajapati, Pratik Athavale (wk), Ayaan Khan, Shoaib Khan, Mohammad Nadeem, Naseem Khushi (wk), Mehran Khan, Bilal Khan, Rafiullah, Kaleemullah, Fayyaz Butt, Shakeel Ahmad, Khalid Kail. Reserves: Jatinder Singh, Samay Shrivastava, Sufyan Mehmood, Jay Odedra

Bangladesh, Ireland, Namibia, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Uganda, United States, West Indies: Yet to be announced.