Jos Buttler is ‘dreaming’ of T20 World Cup glory with England as he eyes up huge final with Pakistan that could see veteran stars perform their ‘last dance’ on the global stage
- Jos Buttler has talked up England’s hopes of being crowned World Cup victors
- England will take on Pakistan in Sunday’s World Cup final at the MGC Stadium
- Buttler admitted he has been ‘dreaming’ of moments like this since he was a kid
- The 32-year-old will be in charge of his first final since taking on the captaincy
Jos Buttler visualised the rare and special moment that could await him at the MCG as he was growing up in a cricket-mad family in Taunton.
‘I’ve certainly had a few dreams about that sort of thing,’ said the England captain when asked here yesterday if he had imagined what it would be like to hold the World Cup aloft.
’I think it goes back to what you were like as a kid, the kind of things you’d be doing in the garden with your brother and sister, pretending to lift the trophy.
Jos Buttler (right) is dreaming of World Cup glory with England at the MCG stadium on Sunday
Buttler could become one of the first-ever captains to win the cup at the first attempt
’To be able to have the opportunity to live that kind of thing out for real would be incredibly special. They’re certainly feelings I don’t feel I need to block out or push away.
‘You accept the things that come with a World Cup, like the dreams and the noise surrounding the final. You accept that it all just feels a little bit different.’
Not many English captains know what it’s like to lift a World Cup in a major sport. Even fewer know what it’s like to do it in their first tournament in charge – and on the hallowed turf of the old enemy at the Australian cathedral of cricket.
Buttler has the opportunity to make history on Sunday as England attempt to unify the 50-over and Twenty20 world titles when they take on Pakistan at the climax of a tournament that has been full of unpredictable cricket but also blighted by the wet Australian Spring.
Buttler believes he has ‘grown’ as England captain ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final clash
Buttler (middle) played a key part in England’s ODI World Cup success in 2019
The most gifted white-ball batter in the world looks increasingly comfortable at the helm of this England team, the shadow cast by his World Cup winning predecessor Eoin Morgan growing shorter by the day.
If Thursday’s spectacular semi-final success over India was the moment this really did became Buttler’s England team then today could be his crowning glory, as long as the heavy downfalls that have been forecast for Melbourne do not rain on his parade.
‘It’s part of my journey as a player and person to be at the stage where I’m a captain learning something very new that I haven’t done before,’ said Buttler. ’It’s exciting to get the chance to do that. It keeps things interesting.
‘I certainly feel I’m improving day by day, really getting the job now and feeling more comfortable in the role as it goes on. I feel as though I’m growing as a captain.’
Buttler’s quick reactions as wicket-keeper saw England beat New Zealand in the 2015 cup final
The Twenty20 World Cup would be the tangible proof of that but the question remains whether this really is the start of a new white-ball era under Buttler and coach Matthew Mott or the start of the end game for the side built by Morgan after the 2015 World Cup.
Buttler said England had ‘one more dance’ to come when they thrashed India by 10-wickets in Adelaide to reach this final but, with seven members of today’s side in their 30s, it is legitimate to ask whether they will soon be taking the floor for ‘The Last Dance.’
It was Moeen Ali, himself 35, who said before the semi-final that England needed more titles to make the most of their talent in this golden white-ball generation because ‘a few of us are not getting younger.’ Buttler, 32, prefers to think of it as the beginning.
The England skipper was instrumental in Thursday’s semi-final thumping over India
Buttler (right) admits England is ‘reaping the rewards’ from Morgan’s hard-work as captain
‘Yes a few of us are getting a bit older but in this professional age you can probably play a bit longer,’ said Buttler, certainly a man at the peak of his powers.
’You’re never quite sure how long things are going to last for you as a player or for the era but that just gives you added drive and determination to make things happen.
Buttler (right) will lead the nation into Sunday’s final
‘Of course we’re still reaping the rewards of Eoin Morgan’s tenure and the changes that have happened in the white-ball game in England and that’s clear to see in the strength in depth we have. We’re right in the back of that wave but there’s a new direction as well.’
This final will decide whether that new direction will earn England’s second T20 World Cup and second world title of the post-2015 era after a string of near misses that include a beaten T20 final and two other semi-final defeats in global white-ball tournaments.
And the game comes against a Pakistan team England know exceptionally well after playing them eight times in the immediate build-up to this tournament. At the moment the score reads England 5 Pakistan 3 but this is the one that matters.
‘We expect a really tough challenge,’ added Buttler. ‘They’re a team we’ve seen lots of in the recent past and we’ve had some brilliant matches against them played in a fantastic spirit. I’m sure the final will be no different.’
England will play Pakistan at Australia’s MGC Stadium in Sunday’s T20 World Cup final