Buttler '100% fit' for England return

Buttler ‘100% fit’ for England return

Limited series captain Buttler hasn’t played for England since July
Venue: Optus Stadium, Perth Date: October 9 Time: 09:10 GMT
Cover: Ball-by-Ball Test Match Special Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sport website and app; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app

England captain Jos Buttler says he is “100% fit” to return after almost two months out with a calf injury.

Buttler will lead England in the first of three Twenty20 internationals against Australia on Sunday as they finalize their preparations for the World Cup.

The 32-year-old hasn’t played since The Hundred and missed all of England’s 4-3 win in Pakistan.

“The physical condition is good,” Buttler told BBC Sport. “I feel good and can’t wait to play cricket again.”

England meet the T20 World Cup hosts and defending champions in Perth on Sunday (09:10 BST) before two matches in Canberra on Wednesday and Friday.

They then have another warm-up match against Pakistan – which is unlikely to be a full-fledged international – in Brisbane on October 17, before the start of their World Cup campaign against Afghanistan in Perth on October 22.

Although Buttler is fit, England still have concerns over striker Liam Livingstone, who has also been sidelined since The Hundred with an ankle injury and could miss the start of the tournament.

“He’s still a little off by the minute, so he’s rebuilding,” Buttler said. “I hope he gets back to full fitness before the World Cup starts.”

Livingstone is one of three players to join England since the Pakistan tour, alongside pace setter Chris Jordan and versatile Ben Stokes.

Test captain Stokes is set to play his first T20 international since March 2021, likely battling at number four.

“Ben is someone we want to try to give as many opportunities as possible to impact the game,” Buttler said.

“We want to get him as high as possible in the order, give him as much responsibility as possible and allow him to play in his own way to get the best out of him.”

Buttler’s return to the top of the table means England will have to choose between Phil Salt and Alex Hales, who have opened all but one of their matches together in Pakistan.

“They’re both fantastic options, with different styles,” Buttler said. I’ll have a good chat with the coach [Matthew Mott] and decide which is the best option.”

Australia rotated their squad, finishing only a 2-0 series win against the West Indies across the country to Brisbane on Friday.

Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa have all been rested.

Batter Tim David hit 42 of 20 in Friday’s win in his fifth game for Australia.

David, 26, had made 14 international appearances for his native Singapore and built his reputation on a string of impressive performances in franchise tournaments around the world.

“Now he’s part of our team and our setup, that’s a godsend,” fly-half David Warner said.

“He’s an amazing player. He’s got some serious power, so that strengthens our middle order, and going out and playing like that and with his size too, and his strength, that suits us for sure.”

The last T20 meeting between England and Australia came in the group stage of last year’s World Cup, when England dominated in an eight-wicket win.

But as England were knocked out in the semi-finals, Australia then lifted the trophy with victory over New Zealand in the final.

“It was a light bulb for the team that we needed to change the way we play,” Australian wicketkeeper Matthew Wade said.

“In the World Cup match, they tore us down and it changed the way we played T20 cricket from that point on.

“They have been the benchmark in T20 for a long time and it will be good to test us.”

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