11/28/2022
England vs Pakistan: England captain Jos Buttler said they are racing against time for fitness of pacer Mark Wood and batsman Dawid Malan ahead of T20 World Cup 2022 final on Sunday.

Dawid Malan and Mark Wood are still racing against time to get fit for the final, and England captain Jos Buttler said they are waiting on the duo’s fitness.

Excerpts:

How Dawid and Mark are, and are either likely to play tomorrow and who’s likelier of the two?

Buttler: Yeah, they’re both improving. Of course it’s not too many days since not being fit enough for the semi-final, but again, we’ll give them every chance possible.

Q. You’re just one game away from being ODI and T20 world champions. Must be a heck of a lot of excitement in the dressing room?

Buttler: Yeah, naturally there’s huge excitement for the match. Anytime you get a chance to play in a World Cup final is a huge honour. We’re really excited as a group. There seems a nice feel around the team.

Naturally the previous performance gives us lots of confidence, but it doesn’t count for anything tomorrow. We start a fresh game against a really tough opposition, and anytime you’re fighting for a trophy, you know that it’s not going to come easy.

Q. You guys have played against each other quite a lot in the last couple of months; are there any secrets between you two, and could one edge be the fact that you guys have played a few World Cup finals whereas most of the Pakistan team haven’t?

Buttler: Yeah, we’ve played against them a lot recently, but of course in very different conditions. I think that’s probably the main factor about even though we’ve played each other quite a few games here at Melbourne, it’s going to be a different game to the series, obviously, in Pakistan.

We know we’re up against an excellent team. That’s exactly what you expect in a World Cup final, and we’ll focus on them a little bit and focus on us a lot and what we need to do to prepare well today to turn up tomorrow and give the best account of ourselves.

Q. At the start of the tournament you said this is a new era obviously under yourself and Matthew. A lot of the players are pretty experienced now, a few in their 30s. How much longer do you think you can proceed as a group? Is it a new era, or is it coming toward the end, as it were, for yourselves as a group, and there might not be that many more chances for world tournaments?

Buttler: Yeah, I don’t think there’s any time there’s loads of chances for world tournaments. They don’t come around too often. As a group a few of us getting a little bit older, but I think in the professional age you can generally play a little bit longer maybe if you look after yourself, and of course there’s always plenty to play for.

Yeah, certainly a new era in terms of the coach, the captain. It’s a different time as a group. Plenty of similar personnel. But playing across a different era, I think that’s what I kind of meant.

I think that happens in terms of teams and team cycles. You’re never quite sure how long things are going to last for you as a player or as an era, as such. But certainly you don’t come down these roads very often, whether you’re a youngster or whether you’re into your 30s. Of course the chances are going to be fewer and fewer when you’re a bit older. But that just gives you that added determination and drive to try and make it happen.

Q. Still very much the beginning for this team?

Buttler: Yeah, I see that as the point. Hopefully, I’ve got more time ahead myself as a captain and with Matthew Mott we can hopefully shape the next, as I say, era of English white ball cricket.

Of course we’re still reaping the rewards of Eoin Morgan’s tenureship and the changes that have happened in the white ball game in England, and that’s clear to see in the strength and depth of the talent we now have in the white ball game in England. We’re very much right in the back of that wave, of course, but there’s a bit of a new direction, as well.

Q. How do you rate the Pakistan pace attack and the form that they have been in their run into this final? And also, we’re back at the site — I know you don’t want to dwell on the weather, but this is where that game was against Ireland, and it’s a similar forecast. Have you addressed the things that went wrong there in knowing there could be a similar situation tomorrow?

Buttler: Yeah, obviously Pakistan are a fantastic team. I think they have a very long history of producing excellent fast bowlers, and I see the team that we’re up against as no different.

I’m sure by the end of their careers, some of the guys who we’ll play against will go down as some of the best bowlers Pakistan have produced. That’s a huge part of why they get to a World Cup final.

We expect a really tough challenge, as mentioned before. They’re a team we’ve seen lots of in the recent past, and we’ve had some brilliant matches against them, played in a fantastic spirit, and I’m sure tomorrow will be no different.

Obviously the Ireland match is a big disappointment for us as a team throughout this tournament, but certainly feels a long time ago now. Being able to sit in this position on the eve of the World Cup final, I think we will have learnt quite a few lessons throughout that game and actually the lead-up into the game.

The weather around Melbourne sort of was dominating the whole tournament at that stage and was sort of definitely a distraction at times. But certainly the game we got into against them, we know the areas we were short. That definitely hurt us. I think we’ve seen a reaction to that game in the rest of the cricket we’ve played so far.