MELBOURNE (AFP): Jos Buttler is reticent to call England one of the best white-ball teams ever, but the captain is confident there is more to come to cement their status as all-time greats.
England’s five-wicket win over Pakistan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday made them the first team in history to hold both one-day and T20 World Cups at the same time, following their 50-over triumph in 2019.
Their efforts were all the more impressive given they were without five first-choice players due to injury — Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Reece Topley and Mark Wood.
“It’s not for us to judge, but we certainly enjoy that,” Buttler said when asked if England could be now considered one of the greatest teams in limited-overs cricket.
“To have won in 2019 and now win this T20 World Cup as well, it just shows the vision at the start that people had where we could get to as an England white-ball team.
“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t go on from strength to strength.”
Buttler, who was part of both the 2019 and 2022 winning teams, as was Sunday’s hero Ben Stokes, was only appointed skipper in July after Eoin Morgan announced his retirement from international cricket.
Morgan oversaw England’s white-ball revival following their embarrassing first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup, a resurgence capped when he steered them to the 2019 title.
He believes they can now be regarded as one of the great limited-overs sides.
“It is such an incredible feeling — pure joy, relief, happiness,” Morgan told Sky Sports.
“This team deserves it. Jos Buttler said, ‘We don’t want to be known as a team just for our style of play’. We were known like that in 50 overs then won the 50-over World Cup in 2019.
“In T20 they’ve now won something tangible to be regarded as one of the great sides. They were excellent.”
England came into the World Cup on the back of a 4-3 T20 series win in Pakistan, which Buttler admitted was a key bonding experience for him as new captain with the team, setting them up for the World Cup.
– ‘Full of confidence’ –
“I think relationships take time. As you get to know people better and better, you build trust. I’d say the Pakistan tour for the group, not just myself and the coach, but for everyone involved, it just seemed like a really good tour,” he said.
“A lot of bonds built. I thought we got back to playing some really good cricket there. We turned up in Australia full of confidence.
“Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to get to know people well and get to feel comfortable, and there’s so much talent in the group that as soon as we feel comfortable, we’re a dangerous team.”
While Stokes’s unbeaten 52 stole the thunder against Pakistan, it was England’s bowlers who put them in a position to win with Sam Curran taking 3-12 and Adil Rashid 2-22 to restrict Pakistan to 137-8.
Curran took 13 wickets overall to be named not just man-of-the-match, but player-of-the tournament, with Buttler praising the influence of Australian bowling coach David Saker since he came on board.
“I think our bowling has improved no end, and I think that’s why we’re sat here as champions to be honest,” he said.
“Sam Curran has stepped up and been an absolute revelation. He’s a brilliant cricketer. He loves those crunch moments.
“I think you can’t underestimate the hard work that people have put in, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes coming back from injuries to get to this point, Chris Jordan being injured, as well, to get to this point. Just such an amazing effort from everyone.”
England’s next assignment is a one-day series against Australia starting Thursday in Adelaide before moving to Sydney then back to the scene of Sunday’s triumph at the MCG.