The current World Champions, England, are very close to being knocked out of the ongoing World Cup, and their captain, Jos Buttler, has performed poorly with the bat. Even though they are the reigning champions in both ODIs and T20Is, England hasn’t done well in this major tournament, losing four out of their five matches.
Buttler, who is considered one of the best one-day batters from England, has been playing very poorly, and the team isn’t performing well right now. Many cricket experts have proposed that Buttler should start the innings when he’s not performing well, and this change could improve England’s chances.
Former England captain Geoffrey Boycott has expressed that for England to have a shot at turning things around, Buttler must either open the innings or bat in the top 4.
“Why would you have him batting at six, sitting in the pavilion watching guys who aren’t as good as him using up a lot of overs? Jos has to open or not bat lower than four. He opens for England in T20 and for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL T20,” wrote Boycott in his column for the Telegraph.
England faces a challenging situation because their next opponent is India, the only unbeaten team in the competition. Even if they win all their remaining four matches, it doesn’t guarantee them a spot in the semi-final.
The question arises: should Buttler change his position and open the innings, or should he stay in his usual No. 6 or No. 7 spot in the longer version of the white-ball format?
Now, let’s explore three reasons why Buttler might not open the innings for England in the upcoming World Cup matches:
#3 The current opening pair is performing well
Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan, who are the assigned openers for the World Cup, have consistently provided strong starts in all five matches. However, the issue arises in the middle order, where none of the experienced batsmen are delivering in terms of runs.
Malan achieved a remarkable century in England’s solitary victory against Bangladesh, and Bairstow contributed with a half-century against Sri Lanka, showing good form. Buttler might contemplate moving higher up the batting order, but opening might not be the wisest choice as the World Cup enters its crucial stage.
#2 The absence of a specific player assigned to finish the innings
Over time, Jos has assumed the role of being the closer for England in white-ball cricket. Although he has only scored 95 runs in his five appearances, the final 15-20 overs of the innings might be where Buttler can make the most impact.
He has amassed 3132 runs while batting at No. 6 and No. 7, and his runs have come at a remarkable strike rate. He possesses the capability to dismantle any bowling attack, and considering England’s current situation in the tournament, it’s advisable for him to maintain his designated finisher role.
#1 Buttler has never batted at the beginning of the innings for England in ODIs
Although there has been much discussion about moving the aggressive wicketkeeper-batsman to the opening position, it’s important to mention that he hasn’t opened the innings for England in fifty-over matches.
Considering the current situation that England is facing, it may not be wise to promote someone to the top of the order who has been facing difficulties in scoring runs throughout the World Cup. Despite his impressive performance in T20 cricket, his lack of experience in the opening role in ODIs might lead the team management to keep him in the middle or lower-middle order.