Jos Buttler must pick between the experienced Jason Roy or England’s next generational talent in Harry Brook for his ODI World Cup squad… as he prepares to make agonising shootout decision
For England it was ultimately a comfortable series win, but for captain Jos Buttler there may be more questions than he would have liked after four ODIs against New Zealand.
Buttler named a 15-man provisional World Cup squad last month, but the England captain admits he has not yet decided on the final decision. An official announcement is expected in the coming days.
“You can’t just pick a World Cup squad from these four games because there’s a lot of thought and process that goes into it and looking at people as a whole,” he said.
‘That has been one of the hallmarks of the selection (since 2015), but I think in the coming days we can find out all the information if necessary and make a decision that will always be a very difficult decision. We are blessed with so many good cricketers in the white-ball game at the moment, but in a World Cup you can only take 15,” Buttler added.
That tough decision is now essentially a shootout between Jason Roy and Harry Brook. Between experience and youth. Between a proven matchwinner in the format and English cricket’s next generation talent.
England ODI captain Jos Buttler is preparing to name his final World Cup squad
Harry Brook will be hoping to find his way into the England team for his maiden ODI World Cup tour
Jason Roy will rely on his experience to earn him a place in England’s World Cup squad
Essentially, 14 of the 15 initially selected players should now be confident of boarding a plane to India on September 27. One of them will be Dawid Malan after a fantastic fifth ODI century took his career average to 61.53 in the format.
“Every time he’s had his chance, not just in this series but even before that, he’s been incredibly consistent. So absolutely, he has played fantastically well,” Buttler said, when asked if Malan had made it impossible not to pick him.
After a series that featured the birth of his son and saw him average 92.33 opening batting, it is almost certain that the 36-year-old will now open alongside Jonny Bairstow when England play on October 5 their campaign against the Black Caps in Ahmedabad begins.
The obvious concern is with Roy, who was told last month he would be in the provisional World Cup squad but has not played in any of the four matches due to repeated back spasms.
And Buttler admitted Roy is one of the few names who could be added to the squad for the three-match series against Ireland – which starts on Wednesday – after not risking him at all in the past week, despite Roy’s desire to to play. .
“You don’t want to risk anything, but at the same time you want guys to play cricket. That is our job to play cricket and we all want to play,” Buttler said. The biggest frustration is for him. He wants to be fit and play and influence cricket for England.
‘He has worked very hard to be fit and available, but we now have a few days where we can regroup… the coach, the captain, the selectors or whoever, and work out exactly what we need to do to move forward.
‘In an ideal world we would have had a fully fit team to pick from and call games on, but we haven’t been in that position yet so that’s probably why we just need a day to sort it out what exactly we want to do. need to do before we board the plane to India.’
Roy was told last month that he would be part of the provisional World Cup selection, but did not play in any of the four matches.
Brook has been hailed as England’s next generation talent after impressing across formats
As for Brook, he failed this mini-audition after a late call-up for the series, with just 37 runs in three innings, but there is little doubt about his talent and he could fill in as a reserve hitter anywhere in the order. With Malan presenting his class at the top of the rankings, that problem may already be solved.
Either way, it will be an incredibly difficult decision for Buttler. Will he stay true to the man who was such an integral part of that winning 2019 campaign or will he go for the man they initially decided to leave out.
Dawid Manalan will be confident of getting his place on the plane to India with England
Selector Luke Wright said at the time it was ‘the hardest decision you will ever have’. Buttler may be forced into an even tougher conversation.
After all, it was under his captaincy that Roy was told last year that he would not be part of the T20 World Cup squad. It would be a cruel twist of fate if Roy were to hear the dreaded news, much like David Willey was when he made way for Jofra Archer in 2019.
‘I wouldn’t call it Dad’s Army, but we are an aging group. We have tried to be a very loyal team and selection panel,” Buttler said after Friday’s win.
How loyal England will be is the only question left to be answered before they board the flight to Guwahati.