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AFP
May 25, 2019

Jos Buttler: England’s destroyer in chief

Sports

AFP
May 25, 2019

LONDON: Jos Buttler’s ability to single-handedly change the course of matches is a key reason why tournament hosts England head into the World Cup as favourites to win it for the first time.

The 28-year-old has hit five of the fastest 10 One-day International (ODI) hundreds ever scored by an England batsman. In a format in which fielding restrictions apply, Buttler’s uncanny ability to innovate and score runs in all areas makes him an especially dangerous opponent.

England fast bowler Jofra Archer found himself up against some of the world’s best batsmen during the recent IPL but he still reckoned his most difficult challenge was bowling to teammate Buttler in training.

“The best player I faced was Jos Buttler in the nets,” said Archer. “He is a 360 (degree) cricketer. He can hit you straight down the ground or over the ‘keeper’s head. I don’t think anywhere is safe with him.”

It was a point emphasised by Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur following Buttler’s blistering 110 not out off 55 balls, including six fours and nine sixes, during England’s win in an ODI in Southampton earlier this month.

“I don’t know how you bowl to him,” said Arthur, a vastly experienced coach. “I’ve just asked the bowlers the same thing and they didn’t have an answer either.” England’s 2015 World Cup campaign when, then as now, Eoin Morgan and Buttler were captain and vice-captain, ended in a pitiful first-round exit. But since then they have climbed to the top of the ODI rankings, mainly as a result of putting their trust in a fearless brand of cricket for which Buttler is the standard-bearer.

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