A wobbly start for Jos Buttler and Co. with their traditional aggressive approach

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England recently suffered a defeat in ODI series against India

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A wobbly start for Jos Buttler and Co. with their traditional aggressive approach

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Nishad Bapat

07/21/2022

Since their terrible campaign in World Cup 2015, England enjoyed significant success in one-dayers with a revamped approach under Eoin Morgan’s captaincy. But now, as Jos Buttler has taken over the leadership role, their attacking approach hasn’t provided the ideal start that he would have liked.

England have been one of the most fearsome white-ball teams in recent years and they have stuck to their approach very firmly since their debacle in the 2015 World Cup. The English team exited from the group stage finishing fifth in their pool, one position below Bangladesh. The team led by Eoin Morgan suffered a shocking defeat in the tournament against Bangladesh and also Sri Lanka who were considered relatively weaker. They suffered defeats with significant margins but their learnings from the tournament shaped their future. 

England underwent complete res-structuring of their white-ball setup and started working with the vision to become one of the most dominant sides packed with some fearsome power-hitters. The captain was the same this time but his tricks to move forward changed a lot for the national and also in the domestic set-up. Slowly and eventually England were moulding themselves into a team with a power-packed side that liked to keep the scoreboard ticking from an orthodox white-ball side. The peak of this transformation was the 2019 World Cup victory and Morgan received applause from the various sections of the cricket fraternity for the way his leadership flourished. 

However, this approach of being a more dominant force can go wrong on some occasions. From 2020, on six occasions out of nine, while batting first, England weren’t able to cross the 300-run mark. The team have such an ability that they can break open the door to record-breaking totals just like their onslaught in an ODI against the Netherlands this year.

Eoin Morgan retired from the game last month and Jos Buttler was handed the reins of the leadership. With Jos Buttler at the helm of white-ball teams, they maintained the same formula to put pressure on the opposition by smacking the ball as hard as they possibly could. The series against India was his first assignment and it was a tough challenge to face a strong opposition like India in the debut captaincy series. They must have been oozing with confidence with a victory in rescheduled Test but the batting wasn’t up to the mark. Buttler had a shaky start to his limited overs reign with a 2-1 defeat in T20I as well as the ODI series. 

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Their in-form Test duo of Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root hasn’t been able to guide the team to a victory with batting and others were dismissed on a low score. In the T20I series, England were bundled out for 148 and 121 respectively in the first two matches. In both games, they lost wickets at regular intervals and ended up on a very low total. The batters were continuously trying to steer the run rate and they lost the wickets with a lack of a batter with an impressive temperament.

The same template followed in the ODI series and it highlighted the significance of Joe Root’s role in the ODI set-up. In all three matches of the series England were unable to go past 300 and were wrapped up on a total of 110 in the first ODI courtesy of a terrific spell from Jasprit Bumrah. Also, they were not able to play all the 50 overs in two matches and the highest score was 259. The team is following a template where Joe Root plays the anchor role and others deal with boundaries and sixes. With Joe Root struggling in the series, they were unable to post a total of around 300 or more in any of the games. 

West Indies used to face the same problem going over the board unnecessarily a few years back when Shai Hope was their anchor and others were ready to take a swing at everything to score at a lightning speed. They are shuffling with their squad to arrive at the right combination but West Indies were all-out on 9 occasions out of 13 times while batting first since 2020 in ODIs. 

The innings included some soft dismissals as the batters tried to propel the run rate and go for attacking shots frequently. After the conclusion of the series against India, England are up against South Africa in an ODI series currently. The same problem of attacking approach resulting in innings collapse hampered them. The pitch was on the slower side as the game progressed but the batters lost their calm in chasing such a challenging total. South Africa gave them a stiff target of 334 batting first. England started well with an opening partnership of 102 but wickets kept falling like a pack of cards. Joe Root was the lone warrior but others failed to build the innings with caution and precision.  

England’s approach has produced results for them and they did a complete turnaround after 2015. Aggression is the key of this English side but at the same time, the batters have to take care of not losing wickets while attempting fancy shots. With the retirement of Ben Stokes, England will look for his replacement and their choice might also strengthen the team. The approach team has continued during Buttler’s captaincy has resulted in a wobbly start for his captaincy tenure. England will be aiming to win the World Cup next year and so their tactics will be important for the tournament.

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