Jos Buttler has no regrets about not drafting in more batting options after England’s lack of runs came back to haunt them again as Bangladesh wrapped up a T20 series victory.
England decided against summoning replacements for injured duo Tom Abell and Will Jacks ahead of these three matches, leaving them with 13 players to choose from and a threadbare batting unit.
Buttler highlighted the absences of several players including Alex Hales, Sam Billings and Liam Dawson, who were given special dispensation by England to prioritise the ongoing Pakistan Super League.
England have been exposed in Chattogram and now in Dhaka, where they rejigged their top-order but slipped from 50 for one after six overs on a difficult pitch to 117 all out in a four-wicket defeat.
“It’s a different balance and a different feel to the team,” said Buttler. “We wanted to give exposure to guys especially who, in these conditions, will also probably play a part in the 50-over World Cup.
“It felt like a great chance to expose the all-rounders’ batting, maybe one spot higher than in our normal team.
“The way cricket is at the moment, there’s a few players who’ve opted not to be here anyway for various reasons, so it felt like instead of calling someone else up, try to use the guys who would be exposed to these conditions in the 50-over World Cup as well.”
Buttler has a phenomenal record as an opening batter in T20s, averaging 49.2 with a strike-rate of 152.22 in 44 matches, but elected to shift himself down to number four in the order on Sunday.
“We’ve obviously got a bank of left-handers in our middle order, it was just an opportunity to change that up a little bit,” said Buttler. “Try to break up our right and left-handers.
“I’m very comfortable batting anywhere in the order, I’ve spent a hell of a lot of my career as a middle-order player as well. I just felt like it would be an opportunity to try something different.
“The opportunity for Mo to go in at number three, something he’s done successfully for Chennai Super Kings (in the Indian Premier League). There’s still some good strengths there as well.”
On the same ground where Mehidy Hasan Miraz collected 12 match wickets to inspire Bangladesh to a first Test win over England seven years ago, the off-spinner claimed four for 12 in four excellent overs.
But with 13 needed off 12 balls, Chris Jordan, bowling the penultimate over and his first of the day, was dispatched for three fours in five deliveries as Bangladesh won with 1.1 overs to spare.
“We know the challenge here, you have to adapt and play well, and we’re not miles off,” added Buttler.
“I thought it was an outstanding bowling display from us to take it that deep and put pressure on Bangladesh to chase those runs. The extra 10 or 15 runs would have probably been crucial in that game.”
England will now look to avoid suffering a whitewash in their first T20 series since winning last year’s World Cup although Mehidy is hoping to deepen the misery of the tourists.
“There might be some (England) players getting rest, so it’s a good opportunity for us, and we are really proud of this moment,” he said.