England confident of Jos Buttler fitness despite hip injury


LONDON: Eoin Morgan is confident that Jos Buttler will be fit to play in England’s next World Cup match, against West Indies on Friday, but insists he will not be risked if there is any danger his injury could be exacerbated.

Buttler did not field in the Bangladesh innings at Cardiff after sustaining a hip injury while batting. But Morgan insists that decision was precautionary and remains optimistic that he will be fit to play in Southampton in just under a week’s time.

“There’s no serious concern at that moment,” Morgan said. “He’s going to be monitored over the next 48 hours, but at the moment it’s more precautionary than a situation where he is not able to do his job. I’m quite confident that it’s not a serious injury.”

The manner in which Buttler sustained his injury – hitting a perfectly respectable delivery for six over long-on off the back foot – on the way to a 33-ball half-century underlined his value to England. But while his absence would certainly be felt in Southampton, Morgan believes it would be foolish to take any chance with him at this relatively early stage of the tournament.

He also played down the prospect of picking him as a specialist batsman on the basis that playing as keeper might be less demanding on his hip than having to get through 50 overs as an outfielder.

“Would we play Buttler as a specialist batsman? It depends on the risk of him making his injury worse in the field,” Morgan said. “If he is a risk going into the next game, it might not be worth it.

“In theory, the best place to be would be with the gloves on. The worry would be that the high catch went up and he with the gloves would have to take the responsibility to take the catch and make his hip worse.

“There are five days between now and the next game. We’ll use every day as much as we can to get try to get him back on the park.”

Meanwhile, Morgan described the presence of two fast bowlers in his side as “unbelievable”. Both Mark Wood and Jofra Archer hit 95mph at times during this game, while Ben Stokes (in this game) and Chris Woakes (at Nottingham) have also hit 90mph in recent days. But it is the continuing development of Archer – just six games into his ODI career – which seems to most please Morgan.

“The slow nature of the pitch made it more difficult to play them,” Morgan said. “Shorter balls didn’t fly through. On a quick-natured pitch it’s easier to play or get out the way of. It follows you when it’s slower so here it was ideal.

“We’ve seen Jofra bowl extremely well at the start of the innings but the way he finished here was also very pleasing. We wanted to bowl them out to improve our run-rate and he wanted the ball in the 44th over.”

The England team will now take a couple of days off, with their next training session likely to take place in Southampton on Wednesday.