Jos Buttler admitted he had reached “a huge low point” after England were left on the brink of elimination from the World Cup in the group stage following defeat to Sri Lanka by eight wickets in Bengaluru. This was their fourth dismal failure in five matches, with Buttler saying the team’s plans for the tournament had “just not worked at all”.
England were bowled out for only 156, before Sri Lanka romped home with more than 24 overs to spare. Despite the result Buttler said he had no doubts about the quality in his squad, leaving him at a loss to explain their complete lack of form. “We’re a really good team, we’ve done a lot of really good things in the recent past in white-ball cricket and 50-over cricket,” he said.
England embarrassed by Sri Lanka and heading for early Cricket World Cup exitRead more
“We got on the plane with high hopes and a lot of confidence and belief that we can challenge for the title. So to be sat here now, with the three weeks that have been, is a shock. It’s a shock to everyone. I’ll walk back in the dressing room and look at the players sat there and think: ‘How did we find ourselves in this position, with the talent and the skill that’s in the room?’ But that’s the position we’re in, it’s the reality of what’s happened over the last three weeks, and that’s a huge low point.”
Buttler, England’s white-ball captain, scored only eight runs to continue his own poor form – he is averaging only 19 in the tournament – and he admitted he has been “a long way short of my best”. “It’s never for a lack of hard work or preparation. It’s not a lack of talent,” he said of his team.
“A lot of the team are experienced guys who are fantastic cricketers. It’s a huge frustration. This tournament’s gone nowhere near the way we wanted to. But there’s no secret, I don’t think. There’s no one else who can score your own runs or take your own wickets. That comes from the start, from the captain at the front. As a leader you want to lead through your own performance, and I’ve not been able to do that.”
England’s task does not get any easier: they next play unbeaten, in-form, at-home India on Sunday. “Whoever we play next, we want to focus on ourselves as individuals and as a team,” Buttler said. “Absolutely, you keep asking questions to try and find out what the problems are and how we can fix them. And there’s a hell of a lot of pride. There’s a lot of guys who are disappointed with the way they’ve played. Whatever happens from here on in, whoever we play, we want to get back to playing the way we know we can. For the games that we have left, we want to play the cricket we know we can play.”
Matthew Mott, England’s coach, said his team had “hit rock bottom”. “We have to use this in a really positive way, I’ve been part of teams that have won and part of teams that have lost, but when you lose like this it has to sting and has to hurt, but something good has to come out of it,” he said.
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“When you hit rock bottom it’s an opportunity to take a look at yourselves, take a look at everything you do – how we train, how we pick our teams, everything is going to get pulled apart and dissected. We have to cop that and pick out what’s important in that, make sure we put it in a really constructive way and get better.”