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England will have to show character and resilience from hereon: Jos Buttler after defeat against Afghanistan

Skipper Jos Buttler discusses England's cricket team's challenge to recover from a surprising defeat against Afghanistan in the ODI World Cup 2023, emphasizes their ability to perform under pressure, and touches on concerns about Ben Stokes' fitness.

England will have to show character and resilience from hereon: Jos Buttler after defeat against Afghanistan snt
First Published Oct 16, 2023, 11:22 AM IST

England faces an uphill battle following a surprising 69-run loss to Afghanistan in the ODI World Cup 2023, with their captain, Jos Buttler, emphasizing the need for their best cricket to recover from this unexpected setback. Afghanistan's win, their second-ever in a World Cup match, has elevated them to the sixth position on the points table, right behind England.

Buttler, when asked if it was premature to suggest that England's World Cup defense was in jeopardy, acknowledged the challenge ahead, especially with matches against India, Australia, and South Africa still to come. He expressed faith in his team's ability to overcome this crisis.

"As I mentioned just before, it's not been the way we wanted to start the competition, but this is the situation we find ourselves in and we're going to have to play some of our best cricket moving forward," the England captain said.

"It's a big setback obviously. Before the tournament starts you have a different idea of how the first three games would pan out. We've got to show a lot of character, a lot of resilience within the team and most of all a lot of belief. There was a lot of excellent players in there and we haven't played well enough today but we must keep that belief," said Buttler.

Also read: Deciphered: India's pivotal role in Afghanistan's rise to cricket elite after stunning win over England

England's aggressive batting style, known as 'Bazball,' has become a hallmark of their cricket, but they struggled to execute it effectively against Afghanistan. They were hampered by an early miss and their inability to hit the right areas in the initial overs. Rahmanullah Gurbaz's brilliant 80-run innings and Mujeeb Ur Rahman's late cameo of 28 runs boosted Afghanistan to their second-highest World Cup total.

Afghanistan didn't lose a wicket till they had crossed the century mark. England, on the other hand, were 91/4 at one stage.

Asked if he could pinpoint where things started going wrong for England, Buttler said, "No, we didn't, no we started poorly, first ball of the game I missed one and it sort of set the tone for that first 10 overs, we didn't hit the areas that we wanted to and credit to Gurbaz (80 runs) as he put us under a lot of pressure, played some good shots, but maybe a few too many easy boundaries in there."

Buttler pointed out that England's aggressive approach remained consistent, but on some days, they couldn't execute it as desired. Afghanistan built pressure and perhaps the pitch and dew conditions didn't align with their expectations.

"We always want to play positive and be aggressive and some days you don't play as well as you want to. Though Afghanistan built good pressure on us, maybe the wicket didn't play exactly how we thought it would play and maybe the dew didn't come in as much as we thought as well," the England captain said.

In recent times, England has often showcased their finest cricket when faced with adversity, and the memorable comeback in the Ashes earlier this year vividly illustrates this resilience.

"We've played some good cricket in all scenarios, whether we've been on top and frontrunners and fancied or whether we've had our backs against the wall. It's a position you find yourselves in, it's not the position you wanted to be in three games ago but the character is excellent as I've mentioned, there'll always be belief and we'll dust ourselves down and go again," Buttler said.

Also read: 'For victims of earthquake': Rashid Khan after Afghanistan's ODI World Cup 2023 win over England

The fitness of Ben Stokes, England's charismatic Test captain and all-rounder, has raised concerns as he has yet to participate in any of the three World Cup matches. Although he was observed engaging in sprints before the Afghanistan match, he did not take part in the game.

"He wasn't fit for this game (against Afghanistan) but we'll see how he pulls up for the next one," the England skipper stated.

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