Jos Buttler has not played since August 18 due to a calf injury and taking “cautious approach” with his side’s T20 World Cup campaign starting on October 22; skipper praises Mark Wood and Harry Brook’s performances against Pakistan and says he is ‘learning lots’ from the sidelines
Last Updated: 29/09/22 6:02am
England captain Jos Buttler says he is “progressing well” as he bids to return to full fitness ahead of the T20 World Cup next month.
Buttler has not played since August 18 due a calf injury he sustained during The Hundred but is with England on the T20 tour of Pakistan as he closes in on a comeback.
The 32-year-old told Sky Sports he was taking a “cautious approach” to his return, with England having six more T20s – three against Pakistan and the same number against Australia – before their World Cup opener against Afghanistan in Perth on October 22.
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Speaking between innings during England’s defeat to Pakistan in the fifth T20I of the seven-match series, Buttler said: “I am progressing well.
“It would be nice to play but with the World Cup round the corner we are taking a cautious approach.
“I am running a few drinks, getting the loads up, feeling good. I feel like if it was a World Cup game tomorrow I could play but I am being a bit cautious and taking it a bit slowly. If I had to, I could play.
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“It is quite a unique situation to be here and not play, to observe.
“I am learning lots listening to the group and watching the way they go about things, watching without as much emotion as when you are involved and thinking about what you will do at certain times.
“[Stand-in skipper] Moeen Ali has been fantastic. I have very much asked him to lead the group and take it on as if he is captain and he has been brilliant – great around the group as he always is and on the field I have been impressed.”
Buttler is set to open for England at the T20 World Cup and there could also be a spot in the middle order for Harry Brook, with the Yorkshireman making innings of note in each of the T20s against Pakistan so far, bar the fifth when he was dismissed for four.
Brook smashed an unbeaten 81 from 35 balls in the third fixture, including five sixes and nine fours, as England piled on 221-3 in Karachi.
Buttler added: “Brook is giving people really good selection headaches which is what you want. The mark of good teams is good people outside the XI pushing to get in the XI.
“He has got a lot of game, a lot of options. I don’t think he premeditates too much, he reacts to every ball coming down.
“I like his demeanour at the crease and I like the way he goes about his business. He is pretty unflappable.”
Seamer Mark Wood could be crucial for England at the World Cup and impressed on Wednesday evening with 3-20 during a searing four-over spell in Lahore.
The paceman has claimed three-wicket hauls in each of the two T20s he has played in the Pakistan series, twice dismissing home skipper Babar Azam.
Buttler said: “I have been delighted with Woody. He is such a great man to have in your team on and off the field.
“He has shown a great amount of resilience. He has been through lots of injuries but bounces back every time and does the work.
“To bowl 97mph the other day was fantastic. Anyone who bowls at that pace creates chances and mistakes and being able to have a genuine wicket-taker is valuable in T20 cricket.”
Watch England’s sixth T20 international in Pakistan live on Sky Sports Cricket on Friday. Coverage begins at 3pm with the first ball at 3.30pm.