Jos Buttler supports Eoin Morgan amid the England captain’s weak form

Jos Buttler supports Eoin Morgan amid the England captain’s weak form

Jos Buttler has been bewildered by speculation about Eoin Morgan’s future in England, insisting everything the limited-overs captain has achieved “won’t just go away overnight”.

Morgan revolutionized England’s white-ball fortunes, guiding them to a first 50-over World Cup crown in 2019, but he’s without half a century in one-day internationals and Twenty20s in nearly a year.

He registered back-to-back ducks against the Netherlands and missed Wednesday’s eight-wicket win, which capped a 3-0 ODI win due to a tight groin, an injury he first picked up last month.

His absence has been described as a precautionary measure but even if form and fitness issues remain, Buttler, who stepped in as skipper in the last game against the Dutch, insisted Morgan retain the team’s support.

“Certainly there is no questioning his position from within the camp,” said Buttler, whose unbeaten 86 of 64 deliveries helped England surpass their winning goal of 245 in just 30.1 overs.

“I cannot put into words what he has achieved. Everyone always talks about his captaincy but forget what a brilliant batsman he was for England in over 200 ODIs, it doesn’t just go away overnight. Everyone on the team supports him.”

Test captain Ben Stokes was even more direct in his defense of his white-ball counterpart.

Jason Roy

Jason Roy scored a century as England sauntered to victory (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“Well he’s only had two low scores so I wouldn’t say he’s going through a tough time at the moment,” Stokes said on the eve of England’s third Test against New Zealand at Headingley.

“I think the press is the only one making life difficult for him and I think the players have shown it’s not a problem for them.

“People aren’t allowed to make a lot of runs and on top of that he’s our captain. He’s a phenomenal leader and always will be, so right now I’m not concerned that anything is wrong with him.”

Another subplot in this series, set in Amstelveen, a suburb southwest of Amsterdam, was the shape of Buttler, who at 248 shares the top spot in the series’ run charts with Phil Salt.

David Willy

David Willey scored four wickets in England’s win (Zac Goodwin/PA)

After David Willey scored four to 36 as the Netherlands faltered from 203 to three after 39.5 overs to 244 with four unused balls, Salt’s 49 helped England get off to a good start before he and Dawid Malan came within three deliveries from Paul van Meekeren were bowled .

While Jason Roy anchored the innings with a sparkling 101 not from 86 balls, Buttler, who found out he would take over England on Tuesday night with Morgan unavailable, was at his best.

The Most Valuable Player in this year’s Indian Premier League, who hit 162 non-outs in Friday’s record-breaking opener, increased his tally in the series to 19 sixes by clearing the rope five times here, including hammering Van Meekeren into the stands after the unfortunate double of the sailor bouncer.

“I’d have to say yes,” Buttler said when asked if he was in the form of his life. “Personally, the IPL was incredibly special to have such a tournament, I was surprised myself.

“I think what’s important for us in white ball cricket in England is that we talk about playing a certain way and we have to try to live that to the maximum. Of course, playing this way is a bit risky, but that’s what we ask of everyone.”

Buttler’s stunning form raises the prospect of a Test return under Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum just months after a disappointing Ashes streak in which he averaged 15.28 Down Under.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone about this,” Buttler added. “I am very happy with where I am at the moment. It may never be a question that needs answering.”

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