Buttler stresses loyalty to old guard as Roy, Root struggle for 50-over form

Jos Buttler has admitted that Jason Roy, and maybe even Joe Root, could be added to the ODI squad to face Ireland next week, as England seek to give their senior players as many chances as possible to find form ahead of the World Cup, after a series win over New Zealand that posed almost as many questions as answers.

Joe Root has been off-colour throughout the ODI series against New ZealandPA Images via Getty Images

“We just have to find out,” Buttler said. “The biggest frustration is for him. He wants to be fit, and playing, and affecting games of cricket for England. He’s been working really hard to be fit and available, but we now have a few days where we can regroup with the coach, the captain, the selectors, and just work out exactly what we need to do moving forward.

“In an ideal world, we’d have had a fully fit team to select from and give games to, but we haven’t been in that position, so that’s probably why we just need to take a day to work out exactly what we need to do before we do get on the plane to India.”

Whether that includes extra game-time for Root too, Buttler conceded that “everything’s an option”.

“With a guy as experienced as Joe Root, you can clearly just ask him ‘what do you need before a World Cup?’ and he’ll be able to give an answer as to what he’d like to do. It’s been an option all along to potentially add guys to the Ireland squad if needed, so we’ll get a clearer picture from everyone now that this series has finished, as to who needs what moving forward.”

Whatever changes England do make, however, Jofra Archer’s inclusion for the Ireland series is unlikely to be among them. He trained with the England squad at The Oval and Lord’s, as he continues to test his long-term elbow injury ahead of a potential role as a travelling reserve at the World Cup. However, Brydon Carse, a late addition to the ODI squad after impressing in the T20Is, could also be a World Cup contender after bowling with pace and accuracy in his one 50-over appearance at Lord’s

“There’s a huge duty of care to [Archer],” Buttler said. “He’s been out of the game for a while, and he’s still a young man who’s got a lot of cricket ahead of him. It’s obviously exciting to see him in an England tracksuit and bowling and, even when he looks like he’s going through the motions, he creates a lot of speed. So yeah, he’s a superstar. We’ll find out again more over time as to how he’s always travelling, but we’re excited that he’ll be back on the park soon.”

There are no such doubts about Malan and Stokes, however, the stand-out successes from the New Zealand series.

“He’s played fantastically well,” Buttler said of Malan, whose century at Lord’s enabled him to reach 1000 ODI runs in just 21 innings, equalling the England record set by Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott. “Every time he’s had his opportunity, not just this series but before, he’s been incredibly consistent. After the second game we spoke about getting back to how we want to play our cricket, being more aggressive, taking more options, and the way he put the bowlers under pressure today was brilliant.”

And though Stokes did not play in the Lord’s ODI, Buttler knew he had seen more than enough during his Oval onslaught, a performance that confirmed the wisdom of his decision to reverse his 50-over retirement.

“It was an amazing innings the other day. You know what you’re getting when you bring Ben Stokes back into the squad. I’m delighted that he’s available for the World Cup. We obviously know what he can do on the pitch, but everything he brings to the team off it is great as well.

“I think also that it was great for his confidence, coming back after a year or so. Even a player, as great as he is, you probably want to just get your feet under the table again and have a good innings. And he’s gone and had the highest score in one-day history for us so yes, it’s a great place to be.”

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket