Buttler expects a great series between England and Pakistan

By our correspondent

KARACHI: England cricket team skipper Jos Buttler on Thursday said that they expect to see some ‘great cricket’ during their seven-match T20 series against Pakistan as both sides have plenty of match-winners.

“Pakistan are very strong side and we look forward to challenging ourselves against them and expect to see some great cricket,” Buttler told a news conference just after English team arrived here on Thursday for playing a crucial T20 series which will serve as a preparatory phase for the T20 World Cup to begin in Australia next month.

Avoiding to declare England as hot favourites Buttler said that both outfits have bunch of match-winners. “No, I don’t say that way too. I know how strong Pakistan are. There are a lot of match winners in both teams and that’s what we need in T20 cricket. Individuals can have a big impact on games and we have a plenty of match winners in our squad,” Buttler said.

“Livingstone, Bairstow, Ben Stokes are big players for us and they are not here for us but it gave opportunities to other players which is exciting. We have a lot of depth in our squad. And guys are desperate for opportunities and it creates a competition within the squad and guys are wanting to step up and grab that chance which is exciting,” said the wicket-keeper batsman. “Pakistan is a very tough team. They give us very tough challenge and we look forward to that and to be very battle-hardened going into the World Cup after, I am sure, a tough seven-match series,” Buttler said.

He also showed optimism that Alex Hales will play a role in the series. “Alex Hales is back in our squad. I know what a fantastic player he is and incredibly destructive player in the top of the order. I am sure Pakistani fans would have seen him in the PSL while playing brilliantly well, so I am sure he is looking forward to play well here,” Buttler said.

He said that all boys are very excited to be here in Pakistan after a long time.

“All players are very excited to be here and looking forward to the tour. It’s great to be back as England cricket after a long time. And as you mentioned some of the players have played in the PSL and share some positive experiences of being here thing and how much the public here love cricket and we are delighted to be here and looking forward to the series,” he said.

Buttler, who is nursing calf injury, is not sure when he will be match-fit.

“Unfortunately, I am carrying little bit of injury and about my participation, I am not sure when I will be match-fit but I will be doing everything I can to try and get on the park,” said Buttler.

Buttler terms the series important before World Cup.

“Its important series before World Cup. I think for many of us to build up towards the World Cup. We are in a bit of unique situation as a team as a few guys injured will be fit in time for the World Cup and not necessarily fit here and there are few guys who are coming to the full fitness as well and who have to manage them here through this tour,” said the skipper. “The main aim of everyone is to turn up to Australia and fully ready for that World Cup. It’s important for us in that sense that everyone should familiarize with some roles. As I mentioned that there are few guys who will be joining us in Australia. We have a young and exciting squad here as well. There are a few guys among the squad for the first time. I look forward to seeing them and they are excited talent as well,” Buttler said.

Jos rated high Pakistan’s current pace-battery.

“Yes, very highly. It seems to be the tradition of Pakistan cricket to produce excellent fast bowlers with the ability to bowl with high pace and high skills. And the game is all about to test yourself against the best players and these are the guys who come up against and that’s why it has been a big strength for Pakistan cricket,” he said.

Buttler said it would not be easy to play such a heavy series.

“Yes, playing games will be a challenge, some of them also back-to-back as well. So we are certainly looking to manage our squad throughout that as a few bowlers, especially, we would want to look after. We don’t need to take any undue risk. We would play three matches in Australia before the World Cup as well. There is a plenty of cricket. Pakistan team is coming just from Asia Cup as well. The responsibility lies with every player and individual to look after themselves and be in the best shape and recover well before matches,” he said.

“I don’t know. As a batsman I have never been to Pakistan myself and am looking forward to experience the conditions and to see how games are played and to see. A few guys have got the experience of playing in these conditions in the PSL. Its important to play in front as World Cup is around the corner before we will arrive in Australia and adapt to those conditions. We would have an eye on the players role and aspects of the game which will be linked to the World Cup,” Buttler said while replying to a question what sorts of wickets he expects Pakistan would have prepared.

Buttler also announced donations for the flood affected people of Pakistan. “I know tough time people of Pakistan are facing at the moment with the floods and we hope that we can uplift that and raise spirit by playing cricket and as a team we are making a donation which will be matched by the ECB as well, which we hope will do a small part to help the people in need at the moment. We hope us being here will shed light on that as well and that people can see the people who need help. Hopefully some exciting games of cricket will be a small tonic to raise some spiri,” Buttler said.

Meanwhile to add to this an ECB spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with all those who’ve been affected by these devastating floods in Pakistan. We hope that this series can help keep the world’s spotlight on what has happened, and encourage people in the UK and around the world to help those affected in whatever way they can. In support of the humanitarian relief effort, the England Men’s team has decided to make a contribution to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal, and the ECB will also be matching this donation.”




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