On the eve of leading England in the Men’s T20 World Cup final against Pakistan at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, Jos Buttler admitted that he is on the cusp of living a childhood dream which could come true: lifting a global trophy as a captain.
In England’s first appearance in a major tournament since their 2019 ODI World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan stepped down and retired from international cricket, his successor Buttler has been at the forefront of leading the side as well as contributing with the bat to the final of the ongoing tournament.
“I’ve certainly had a few dreams about that kind of thing, and of course I think it really links back to what you were like as a kid really, the kind of things you would be doing in the garden with your brother and sister, pretending to lift a trophy and that kind of thing, and now to be able to have the opportunity to have a chance to live that kind of thing out is incredibly special,” said Buttler in the pre-final press conference.
While preparing for the biggest match of his journey as a white-ball England captain, Buttler conceded that childhood memories about winning a World Cup had rushed back into his mind, which he feels is completely normal.
“I think it’s fine to sort of think about those things and sort of what it might feel like or what it would mean. They’re certainly feelings I don’t feel like I need to try and block out or push away.
“You almost accept those kinds of things as like accepting the noise that comes with a World Cup final, accepting that it feels a little bit different. Again, the room is fuller than it has been for any other game, obviously. Don’t need to try and push it away and say it’s no different tomorrow. Of course it is.
“But once you’ve accepted those things, again, it’s about focusing on the things that you know will serve us well as a group and as a team, as an individual what you need to do to prepare to play your best game of cricket tomorrow.”
Buttler’s start as a full-time white-ball skipper wasn’t a rosy one. Defeats to India in ODI and T20I series, followed by another T20I series defeat to South Africa and squaring the ODI series against the Proteas didn’t make for a great look.
A calf injury cut short his time in The Hundred and led to him being a non-playing member when England beat Pakistan 4-3 in an away T20I series. But Buttler is now on the verge of making England be the only men’s international side to hold two World Cups at the same time, especially after a hat-trick of victories over New Zealand, Sri Lanka and India. He believes that past few months have led to immense growth in his thinking as a captain.
“I think I certainly enjoy some bits (of captaincy) a bit more than others. Talking about teams and going through different eras, I think it’s part of my own sort of journey as a player and as a person to now be at this stage of my career where I’m a captain learning at something very new that I haven’t done before, and that’s exciting to get the chance to do that. It keeps things interesting, learning new experiences and going through that.