Jos Buttler has dismissed the idea that England are losing their cool in the heat of the World Cup campaign, insisting “pressure is a privilege”.
Three defeats from their first seven group games have left the home side’s semi-final prospects hanging in the balance ahead of Sunday’s Egbaston clash against an India team who have just replaced them on top of the world rankings.
If that was not enough to nudge tensions towards fever pitch, opening batsman Jonny Bairstow found himself embroiled in a terse exchange with former England captain and fellow Yorkshireman Michael Vaughan.
He was one of several media pundits who offered scathing critiques after the Lord’s loss to Australia, leading Bairstow to claim there was an agenda against the team and a will to see them stumble.
Vaughan refuted that suggestion in no uncertain terms in messages posted via Twitter and Instagram and cited Bairstow’s “negative, pathetic mindset” in response.
Geoffrey Boycott later tweeted that Bairstow was “making excuses” and added: “You got us in a tight corner, now get us out of it!”
“It’s just typical Yorkies,” Buttler said with a smile when asked about sideshow.
Excellent interview by @josbuttler saying the @englandcricket team have great support. @jbairstow21 was making excuses saying some ppl wanted Eng to fail. They haven’t played as well as expected & only the players can fix that. You got us in a tight corner. Now get us out of it!— Geoffrey Boycott (@GeoffreyBoycott) June 28, 2019
How wrong can @jbairstow21 be .. Never has England team had so much support but it’s you and your team that has disappointed Jonny .. WIN 2 games and you are in the semis .. With this negative, pathetic mindset I… https://t.co/olrefg6IFP— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) June 28, 2019
“As a player, when Jonny seems to have a point to prove he performs outstandingly well. I don’t think that’s quite the case [here] but I don’t know enough about what was said to really have an opinion.
“The mood in the camp is still very good. Naturally there’s some external pressure – it would be naive to say we’ve got our blinkers on and we’re not aware of things that are going on outside. I think we just have to accept those things as what happens during tournament cricket.”
Buttler’s own views about the support levels the team experience clearly diverge from his team-mate’s sentiments, though, having been roared on from the roadside by some enthusiastic fans recently.
He added: “I was in London walking down the street with my wife and I was saying ‘I don’t know how big the World Cup has been, I don’t know what I was expecting’ and as I said that a couple of guys drove past and shouted good luck.
“She said ‘you’ve just answered your own question. People are wishing you well’. Walking down the street, people wishing you well, guys hanging out of their vans wishing you good luck for Sunday, that’s a good sign for me. I think it’s been great from the country.”
Having attempted to draw the sting from that issue, Buttler made no attempt to downplay the importance of their next game. Instead, he revelled in the elevated stakes. “It’s a massive occasion,” he said.
“You talk about pressures, external pressures, well pressure is a privilege sometimes. We’re in a very privileged position to be in this situation.
“These are the games you look back on, or at the start of your career, that you hope you’re part of. It’s going to be a great occasion. We know the support India will get, wherever they go in the world they get great support. We hope we get great support too and that it’s a great game.”
Bairstow’s first-choice opening partner Jason Roy enjoyed a long and seemingly pain-free net on Friday and looks increasingly likely to return to the XI after three games out with a torn hamstring.
He has been much missed and, considering James Vince’s struggles, may play even if he falls short of 100% fitness.
Leading wicket-taker Jofra Archer could be a bigger concern. The paceman has been experiencing tightness in his left side and underwent a light training session, completing sprints and throwing drills but not appearing in the nets.
“He’s a pretty relaxed guy and sometimes doesn’t bowl,” said Buttler, perhaps optimistically.
“The medical team will be seeing how he goes. He’s working hard with the medical team and they’ll be keeping a close eye on him.”
Provided by Press Association Sports
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