ICC World Cup: How Jos Buttler is carrying on the Eoin Morgan legacy
After leading England to World T20 crown last year, expectations from the white ball captain and prolific batter rides high again
Can Jos Buttler, who led England to their second T20 World Cup triumph last year, guide them to back-to-back triumphs in the 50-overs World Cup as well? While one has to wait till November 19 for an answer, there is no doubt that there could not have been a better leader to carry on Eoin Morgan’s legacy.
If Morgan is credited with masterminding the country’s revolution in white ball cricket (with a free hand from Andrew Strauss, ECB’s then Director of Cricket) during a four-year cycle between 2015 and 2019, Buttler looked the rightful heir who led by example. There are not too many cleaner strikers of the cricket ball than Buttler in the game today – and the pressure of the hot seat has in no way dented his averages.
Just ponder this: in the 50-overs format where he comes in at No.4, the soft-spoken Buttler’s impressive average of 40.67 jumped to 45.21 as a captain. In T20Is where he is the opener, his record is marginally better without the captain’s armband.
Captain or not, Buttler is capable of winning games on his own. His 11 ODI hundreds are the most of any active player who bats at number four or lower, with nine of those hundreds coming in victories. Both his predecessor and Buttler are fortunate to have been blessed with a golden generation of cricketers in Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Moen Ali or Chris Woakes, but the current England captain had proved his worth on the big stage time and again.
He was England’s top rungetter at both the ICC Men’s T20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022 while four years ago he saved his most best for the final at Lord’s, making 59 as he and Ben Stokes put on 110 for the fifth wicket that allowed England to rebuild and take the match to a Super Over.
If there is one anomaly in his ODI record, it’s about how he has fared in India to date. In eight matches on Indian soil, he has managed just 83 runs at an average of under 12, though there is no evidence of any such struggle in the T20 format in India. One of the biggest overseas performers in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in recent years, he averages 42.60 for England in this format.
Only Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle have more IPL hundreds than Buttler, who has been a mainstay for Rajasthan Royals at the top of the order. It would appear more to be a small quirk that has seen Buttler struggle in ODIs in India to this point.
Interestingly enough, Buttler has not been part of the Bazball revolution in Test cricket, but England’s red-ball strategy seems to have taken a leaf out of Buttler’s dominating approach when facing the white ball.
Four years on from playing a key part in England getting the better of the Black Caps to lift the trophy for the first time, one hopes Buttler to lead from the front as they attempt to defend their title under much more challenging conditions.
Published: 30 Sep 2023, 4:09 PM