• October 21, 2022 11:15 am
  • Bakersfield, United States, California

England are “chomping at the bit” ahead of their T20 World Cup opener on Saturday, says captain Jos Buttler.

England begin their bid for a second men’s T20 title against Afghanistan at 12:00 BST in Perth.

Buttler’s side arrive in form after series wins over Pakistan and Australia, although they have selection and injury issues to solve.

“We’ve had some really good games over the last 10 matches and played some really good cricket,” said Buttler.

“We’re in a good spot. Everyone is chomping at the bit to get going now.

“On the eve of the tournament we’re very ready.”

England’s build-up has been hit by an ankle injury to Reece Topley, who was ruled out of the tournament on Wednesday.

Buttler said the rest of the squad is available, although there are doubts around the fitness of bowler Chris Woakes with a quad issue.

“He’s feeling good,” Buttler said. “He’s obviously a key player for us and not somebody you’d take a big risk on.”

An injury to Woakes would be of significant concern given fellow pace bowler Mark Wood will likely be managed through the tournament as he returns from elbow surgery.

Chris Jordan looks short of form as he makes his comeback following a hand injury, while Topley’s replacement in the squad, Tymal Mills, has not played since August because of a toe problem.

Left-armer David Willey looks to be in line to take Topley’s place in the starting XI, with England then needing to decide on the balance of their side.

They could take a ‘batting-heavy’ approach by picking Moeen Ali, Harry Brook and Liam Livingstone, or opt for another bowler which would mean leaving out a batter, most likely Brook or Livingstone.

“We have got great options,” Buttler, who took over as captain after the retirement of Eoin Morgan in June, told the BBC.

“Either way we have a lot of balance and batters who bowl – genuine all-rounders – which is fantastic to have in a T20 team.

“It doesn’t have to stick to one balance in the tournament. We can change and see how we feel with each opposition and ground.”

Afghanistan eye upset after week of shocks

Rashid Khan
Spinner Rashid has taken 118 wickets in 71 T20s with a best of 5-3

Saturday sees the main contenders enter the competition after a fascinating week of surprises in the first group stage, which culminated in West Indies being surprisingly being dumped out.

England and Afghanistan are in a group with New Zealand and Australia, who open the Super 12 stage on Saturday at 8:00 BST in Sydney, plus Sri Lanka and Ireland.

A dangerous Afghanistan side includes superstar leg-spinner Rashid Khan, while they are coached by former England batter Jonathan Trott.

“Any team that has Rashid Khan in will be a really strong team,” Buttler said. “T20 is one of those games when an individual can win it on their own on a day.”

Trott replaced another former England batter, Graham Thorpe, as Afghanistan head coach in July. Thorpe was taken seriously ill in hospital in May.

Trott has previously worked as an England batting coach and was a team-mate of a number of the team during his playing career, but he was quick to play down the suggestion he could have inside information on the England players.

“Nowadays with the way that analysts, analysing games with regards to technology and that sort of stuff, I don’t think there’s much you can say that isn’t available,” Trott said.

























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