Former England captain Michael Atherton feels that how players deal with the pressure in T20Is against Pakistan will be what regular white-ball skipper Jos Buttler will gain despite not playing the opening two games of the seven-match tour.
Buttler’s role in the initial stages of England’s T20I tour to Pakistan has been limited to watching the first two matches from the sidelines as he is recovering from the calf injury sustained during the Hundred competition.
“(Buttler) made it clear before this series that he wanted to be out there. We don’t expect him to play much part in it, if any part of it at all, but he said ‘I want to be here’ so close to the World T20 in Australia. This is the time you want to get your plans in place,” said Atherton to Sky Sports after England lost the second T20I to Pakistan by 10 wickets.
With less than a month left for the Men’s T20 World Cup to begin in Australia, the current tour of Pakistan holds a lot of significance for Buttler and coach Matthew Mott to identify players who can help them clinch the silverware on November 13 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
“You want to get to know the new players in the side like Will Jacks and Luke Wood — all these guys you don’t know as characters so well and you don’t know how they play under pressure.”
“You get to know and feel when you see players close-up in the dressing room before 25-30,000 people who all want the other side to win and you get a sense of how players deal under pressure, so that’s what Jos Buttler will gain from this series,” added Atherton.
Earlier, in a press conference on England’s arrival in Pakistan after a gap of 17 years, Buttler had said that it was important for him to get on the tour despite admitting to not risking an injury with three T20Is against Australia, warm-up matches and the T20 World Cup coming up.
“Whether fit to play the games or not, I felt there would be a lot of value in me being here. (I will) take it as I see it and very slowly build it up. It’s an injury that’s not bad, but one that has a risk of recurrence. You don’t want to push it too soon, especially with what we have ahead: we still have games in Australia and warm-up games so there’s no desperate need to get as fit as possible.”