Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes have backed white-ball captain Eoin Morgan, describing him as a ‘phenomenal leader’. Morgan led England to their first 50-over World Cup title in 2019, but he is himself without a half-century in one-day internationals and Twenty20s for almost a year. The batter registered two successive ducks against the Netherlands and missed Wednesday’s game due to a tight groin, which England won by eight wickets and completed a 3-0 ODI clean sweep.
His absence was described as ‘precautionary’. But even if form and fitness issues persist for Morgan, Jos Buttler, who stood in as skipper for the final match against the Netherlands, insisted Morgan retains the backing of his side.
“There is certainly no questioning of his position from within the camp. I can not put into words what he has achieved. Everyone always talks about his captaincy but you forget what a brilliant batsman he has been for England in over 200 ODIs – that does not just go away overnight. Everyone in the team is backing him,” Sky Sports quoted Buttler as saying.
Test captain Ben Stokes also defended his white-ball counterpart.
“Well, he has only had two low scores so I would not say he is going through a hard time at the moment. I think the press are the only ones giving him a hard time and I think the players have shown it is not an issue with them,” he said.
“People are allowed to not score many runs and more than that he is our captain. He is a phenomenal leader and always will be so I have got no issues with anything going on with him at the moment,” he added.
Another subplot of this Netherlands series has been the form of Jos Buttler, who finished as joint-top scorer for England along with Phil Salt with 248.
Buttler was at his very best in the final match of the series, scoring an unbeaten 86 off 64 balls.
He emerged as the Indian Premier League’s most valuable player this year. He thumped 162 not out in Friday’s record-breaking opener and ended his tally of sixes in the series with 19 sixes by clearing the rope five times in the final ODI.
“I would have to say yes,” said Buttler, when asked if he was in the form of his life. “The IPL was incredibly special personally to have a tournament like that, I surprised myself. I think what is important for us in white-ball cricket in England is we talk about playing in a particular fashion and we must try and live that to the max. Of course, there is a bit of a risk element to that way of playing but it is what we ask of everyone,” he added.
Buttler’s great form raises the possibility of a Test return under Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum, just a few months after he had a disappointing Ashes series in which he averaged 15.28.
“I have not had any conversations with anyone about that. I am very happy with where I am at, at the moment. It might not ever be a question that has to be answered,” he said.
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