SYDNEY (AFP): England will make last-minute fitness calls on Dawid Malan and Mark Wood as they look to spoil the party in Thursday’s Twenty20 World Cup semi-final against India, skipper Jos Buttler said.
The world’s two top-ranked teams will clash at the Adelaide Oval for a place in Sunday’s final at the MCG against Pakistan or New Zealand.
England are sweating on the availability of number three batsman Malan and pace spearhead Wood.
Wood has bowled the fastest ball of the tournament at 154.74kph (96.15mph).
“We will see how they pull up. We are trying to give them as long as possible,” Buttler said on Wednesday.
“Dawid was out the other day with a small niggle, Woody has had a bit of stiffness. We trust the medical team, we trust the two guys as well.”
Malan looks doubtful after he injured his groin in England’s final Super 12 match against Sri Lanka and could be replaced by Phil Salt.
Buttler, who plays with hard-hitting Salt at county side Lancashire, backed him to take his chance if it comes against India.
“I think he has a fantastic mindset, especially for the T20 format, he certainly doesn’t fear anyone and is someone who wants to get on the front foot and take the game on,” said Buttler.
“He embodies quite a lot of what we speak about as a team and how we ask guys to play.
“Certainly I wouldn’t expect to see anything else from him if he gets the chance to play.
“He’s certainly someone who’s not going to shy away from an occasion, I feel like he’s someone who will definitely take it on.”
Buttler knows that an India side which has batsmen Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav in sparkling form will have strong backing in Adelaide, as they have done throughout the World Cup.
“We are all really excited about the match, in my opinion one of the best stadiums in the world against a brilliant Indian team which I am sure will be well supported tomorrow,” Buttler said.
“It’s going to be a great occasion and these are the times you want to be involved as a player.”
Buttler also knows that those Indian fans will be hoping for victory to set up a blockbuster final against arch-rivals Pakistan.
“We certainly don’t want an India-Pakistan final,” added the batsman-wicketkeeper, who took over the England white-ball captaincy earlier this year from Eoin Morgan.
“So trying to do what we can to make sure that it doesn’t happen.”