England captain Eoin Morgan has struggled to regain his form with the bat over the last year, missing both of his games against the Netherlands; ODI deputy captain Jos Buttler and test skipper Ben Stokes offer endorsement
Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes expressed surprise at questions about Eoin Morgan’s future in England, with event captain Stokes describing Morgan as a “phenomenal leader”.
Morgan has revolutionized England’s cue ball fortunes and led them to a maiden Over-50 World Cup crown in 2019, but hasn’t had a half-century in one-day internationals and Twenty20s in nearly a year.
He recorded two consecutive ducks against the Netherlands and missed Wednesday’s eight-wicket win that completed a clean 3-0 ODI sweep due to a tight groin, an injury he first suffered last month.
His absence was described as a precaution, but even if form and fitness issues persist, Buttler, who captained the last game against the Dutch, insisted Morgan retains the team’s backing.
“There is certainly no question of his position within the field,” said Buttler, whose unbeaten 86 from 64 deliveries helped England beat a win target of 245 in just 30.1 overs.
“I can’t put into words what he has achieved. Everyone always talks about his captaincy but you forget what a brilliant batsman he has been for England in over 200 ODIs, that doesn’t go away overnight. Everyone in the team back him up.” .”
Trials captain Ben Stokes was even more forthright in his defense of his cue ball counterpart.
“Well, he’s only had two low scores so I wouldn’t say he’s having a hard time right now,” Stokes said on the eve of England’s third Test against New Zealand at Headingley.
“I think the press is the only one giving him a hard time and I think the players have shown that it’s not a problem for them.
“People are allowed not to score a lot of runs and more than that, he’s our captain. He’s a phenomenal leader and always will be, so I don’t have a problem with anything that’s going on with him right now.”
Another subplot in this series in Amstelveen, a south-west suburb of Amsterdam, has been the form of Buttler, who finished top of the series racing charts alongside Phil Salt with 248.
Buttler, who discovered he would take charge of England on Tuesday night without Morgan available, was at his belligerent best in the series finale.
The most valuable player in this year’s Indian Premier League, who scored 162 no outs in Friday’s record opener, raised his tally in the series to 19 sixes by clearing the rope five times here, including hitting Van Meekeren against the stands after the closer’s unfortunate double. bully
“I’d have to say yes,” Buttler said, when asked if he was in the shape of his life. “The IPL was incredibly special personally to have a tournament like that, I surprised myself.
“I think what is important for us in cue-ball cricket in England is that we talk about playing in a particular way and we must try to live that to the fullest. Of course there is an element of risk in that way of playing, but That’s what we ask of everyone.”
Buttler’s astounding form raises the possibility of a trial comeback with Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum, just months after a disappointing series from the Ashes in which he averaged 15.28 Down Under.
“I haven’t had any conversations with anyone about it,” Buttler added.
“I’m very happy with where I am, right now. It may never be a question that has to be answered.”
Watch the third LV= insurance test between England and New Zealand, from Headingley, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event from 10am on Thursday.