Lancashire’s Jos Buttler is ready to carry England’s hopes on his shoulders this summer, according to England team-mate Chris Woakes.
Currently starring in the IPL with Rajasthan Royals, Buttler has enjoyed a stellar 12 months in which he won back his place in England’s Test side and helped guide Eoin Morgan’s ODI squad to top spot in the world rankings.
Alongside Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, the 28-year-old will form a central pillar of an exciting England batting line-up gunning for glory on home soil in this summer’s ICC Cricket World Cup, while there is also the small matter of an Ashes series starting in August.
England start as heavy favourites for both, thanks in part to Buttler’s versatility across all formats, and team-mate Woakes has reserved special praise in particular for the way in which the swashbuckling Red Rose batsman’s game has evolved.
“What’s good about the squad of 16 to 18 players we have is that we’re always striving to get better. We have lost games along the way and we always review and see how we can get better,” Woakes said.
“You look at world-class players like Joe Root, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, they’re always striving to get better. That helps us as a side continue to improve.
“Jos is the best I’ve played with from the current squad. He’s is a bit of a freak, unbelievably good and maybe doesn’t always realise how good he is at times.
“Having the opportunity to play in the IPL is such a good thing for us as England players. It wasn’t really an option in the past, but it has exposed us to playing in front of huge crowds.
“Playing in that pressure cooker can only make us feel like we can handle that environment.”
Woakes also rubbished concerns over England’s ability to cope with their status as World Cup favourites, insisting they already have a blueprint in place that can take them to a historic success this summer.
With a heavy-duty artillery of batting talent making waves across the globe and a string of impressive victories behind them, hopes are high that Morgan’s side can go all the way this summer – becoming the first England side to do so in the process.
“I think we’ve dealt with the expectation that comes with being ranked No. 1 in the world for a while now,” said Woakes.
“As a team, we’re a tight-knit group and we’ve handled it well so far. We’ve got a great squad and played some great cricket over the last few years. We effectively don’t need to do anything different.”
ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy Tour, driven by Nissan, commences 100-day tour of England and Wales and will be at over 100 locations and events before arriving back in London ready for the opening match on May 30.