by IANS |
Karachi, Sep 21 (IANS) England white-ball skipper Jos Buttler believes England are not the favourites in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in Australia next month, saying while his side will be "dangerous", it is not a sure-shot they will lift the trophy.
England had performed remarkably well in the 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup in the UAE but the side then led by Eoin Morgan had fallen to New Zealand in the semifinal. This time around, while the Test team under captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum has been doing great, the same cannot be said about the T20I side.
This year, under new skipper Buttler, England have lost all three T20 series and several key players are either injured or have been rested ahead of the mega tournament in Australia.
On Tuesday, however, England won the first T20I of their seven-match series against Pakistan in Karachi by six wickets with four balls to spare, with the returning opening batter Alex Hales scoring a half-century.
"When you look ahead, there's ICC events pretty much every year so there's always stuff to build towards, there's always exciting times. I think this World Cup coming up now is actually a bit of a free hit for us, it's very early in our time as a team," said Buttler on Sky Sports.
While Buttler is there with the side in Pakistan, Moeen Ali is leading the team since the regular skipper is nursing an injury and is in a race against time to be fit for the T20 World Cup.
"We've got a squad full of match winners and I think that's an exciting place to be as a T20 team looking ahead to that World Cup. We by no means go there as favourites, but I feel like we'll be a dangerous team that sides wouldn't want to play against," added Buttler.
Buttler's side is missing several key players, including Jonny Bairstow, who suffered a freak injury. The plan was for Buttler and Bairstow to open at the World Cup but now that will not be possible in the World Cup, though Hales too gave an indication he could be an ideal replacement with his match-winning half-century in the T20I against Pakistan on Tuesday.
"He's (Hales) a really experienced cricketer who's played a lot for England and has been very successful not only here in the PSL (Pakistan Super League), but of course in the Big Bash (League) as well. Through a range of circumstances an opportunity's come around for him again.
"I know how excited he is to have an England shirt back on and I'm sure we're going to see some great performances from him. Phil Salt's been a really exciting player to watch. I love the way he goes about his cricket, he really is a fearless player and takes it on," added Buttler.