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England captain Jos Buttler believes India are favourites for World Cup

The last three editions of the Cricket World Cup – India in 2011, Australia in 2015 and England in 2019 – have been won by the host nation.

David Charlesworth
Friday 29 September 2023 10:00 BST
Jos Buttler has tipped India as favourites for the World Cup (John Walton/PA)
Jos Buttler has tipped India as favourites for the World Cup (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)

Jos Buttler believes the weight of history suggests India are clear-cut favourites to win the World Cup on home soil despite England’s considerable experience of the conditions.

Staging the showpiece in recent years has come with a distinct advantage as the last three editions – India in 2011, Australia in 2015 and England in 2019 – have all been won by the host nation.

England may be double world champions, but even a side that turbocharged the white-ball formats have fallen short in India, losing keenly contested ODI and T20 series both in early 2017 and spring 2021.

While Buttler is bullish about England’s fortunes, he rates an India side that have won 14 of their last 16 ODI series on their own patch as well as the Asia Cup earlier this month as the team to beat.

“The clear favourites are India,” Buttler told the PA news agency. “You only have to look at the past few World Cups – England won in England, Australia won in Australia and India won in India before that.

“History tells you that it’s quite advantageous to be the home nation and they’re obviously a brilliant team. In their own conditions, India are fantastic. I certainly see them as favourites.

“We’re going out there to try to win a World Cup – we don’t see ourselves as defending champions. It’s very much a new tournament and we know it’s going to be tough because there are some top, top teams.

“But we know we’re a really good team, a dangerous team, we’ve got a lot of experience in the group and we back ourselves.”

England have arrived in Guwahati ahead of three warm-ups which will act as final preparation for the tournament opener against New Zealand – a rematch of the 2019 final – in Ahmedabad next Thursday.

Their 15-strong squad contains eight members of the side that went all the way four years ago, while Gus Atkinson is an outlier as the only one who has not featured in the Indian Premier League.

A number of others including Buttler, an IPL regular since 2016, have substantial knowledge of what to expect in India which England’s limited-overs captain hopes they can exploit.

Speaking to promote England’s official kit supplier Castore extending its ‘summer of sport’ campaign to highlight key occasions such as the World Cup, Buttler said: “It gives you a sense of familiarity.

“A lot of the cricket grounds we’ll play at, guys will have played there and know the surroundings. They will understand the pitches and conditions, more so than if they’d not been there before.

“There’s a lot of other teams that have that advantage as well with guys playing a lot of IPL cricket, it’s been around for quite a few years now so everyone’s accustomed to playing in India in that sense.”

Jofra Archer will be England’s only travelling reserve as he completes his rehabilitation from the latest stress fracture in his right elbow that ruled him out of the entire summer schedule.

He will not be ready to make his return until at least the latter stages of the tournament, raising the prospect of him making a dramatic comeback if injury strikes one of England’s quick bowlers.

While England are cautious over rushing back the bowler who was entrusted with the super over that led to them being crowned world champions for the first time, Buttler is delighted to have Archer in tow.

“He’s someone who will go on and have so much impact for England,” Buttler added. “Everyone is hopeful this will be the end of his injuries and we can see him back on the park more consistently.

“He’s such a superstar, you want to see these guys perform, he’s someone who puts bums on seats.”

:: Jos Buttler was speaking to promote Castore, the official kit suppliers of the England cricket team, investing in an extension to its national brand marketing campaign. For more information, visit https://castore.com

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