World Cup: Will England rest key players for Pakistan match? Jos Buttler gives an update

Pakistan need to win that game in Kolkata for a place in the semifinals, while England have already been eliminated

By AFP

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England captain Jos Buttler tosses the coin before the start of the match against the Netherlands in Pune on Wednesday. — AFP
England captain Jos Buttler tosses the coin before the start of the match against the Netherlands in Pune on Wednesday. — AFP

Published: Thu 9 Nov 2023, 11:14 AM

Having ended their five-match losing streak with a 160-run win over the Netherlands on Wednesday, England captain Jos Buttler wants to end the World Cup campaign on a high by beating Pakistan in their final league game on Saturday.

Pakistan need to win that game in Kolkata and hope other results go their way for a place in the semifinals.

But Buttler says England will not rest any of their top players as they are focused on delivering another big performance before leaving India.

"It's a huge game for us, vital," Buttler said when asked about Saturday's clash in Kolkata.

"We haven't performed the way we wanted to this whole trip, and we'd like to leave India putting in a proper performance."

Buttler said he wanted to stay on as England captain as he prepares for a World Cup post-mortem with his employers.

This has been a miserable tournament for both Buttler and his side, with England's title defence having yielded just two wins from eight games.

England will at least go into that match with their hopes of qualifying for the 2025 Champions Trophy in Pakistan via a top-eight finish at the World Cup still alive following Wednesday's 160-run rout of the Netherlands.

That win ended a sequence of five straight defeats but Buttler was out for just five, taking the gifted white-ball batsman's tally for the tournament to a mere 111 runs in eight innings at an average of under 14.

Buttler is set to meet with England cricket director Rob Key prior to this weekend's clash with Pakistan.

But amid a debate about whether England need to refresh their limited-overs leadership, the 33-year-old Buttler said he hoped to captain what is expected to be a much-changed squad on a tour of the West Indies next month.

"I'd like to," he said. "I know Rob Key arrives into India today. We can have some good conversations with him and the coach and make a plan for that tour."

Reflecting on Wednesday's thrashing of the Netherlands, he added: "It's been a frustrating time, not winning games of cricket or playing as well as we'd like, I'm delighted with this win."

England were indebted, once again, to Ben Stokes after his defiant 108 took them to a total of 339-9 that was more than enough against the Netherlands.

But Test captain Stokes won't be heading to the Caribbean, with the star all-rounder set to undergo knee surgery after the World Cup.

There were calls for Stokes to head home for an operation immediately the moment England no longer had any chance of qualifying for the semifinals.

Stokes, who revived England's innings on Wednesday from the depths of 192-6, said: "I don't leave anyone hanging".

Buttler was adamant there was never any question of an early departure.

"No, we haven't had any conversations like that. It's not Ben's style at all," he said.

"He wants to put in performances like you saw here. Anytime you need someone to stand up when the team's under pressure, he's had a history of always doing that for whoever he's playing for.

"We're very lucky to have him in the team and I thought his innings today was exceptional."

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