Roy or Brook? Buttler facing tough decision
By Aadam Patel
dmg media (UK)
FOR England, it was a comfortable series win in the end but for Jos Buttler, there are perhaps more questions than he would have liked after four ODIs against New Zealand. Buttler named a provisional 15-man World Cup squad last month but the England captain admits he is still making up his mind over final selection. ‘You can’t just pick a World Cup squad from these four games because there’s a lot of thought and process that goes into it and looking into people as a whole,’ he said. ‘That’s been one of the hallmarks of selection (since 2015) but we can find out all the information over the next few days and make what will be a really tough decision.’ That tough decision is effectively a shootout now between Jason Roy and Harry Brook. Between experience and youth. Between a proven matchwinner in the format and English cricket’s next generational talent. In essence, 14 of the 15 initially selected should now be confident of getting on that plane to India on September 27. One of those will be Dawid Malan after a superb fifth ODI century took his career average to 61.53 in the format. ‘Every time he’s had his opportunity, not just this series but even before, he’s been incredibly consistent. So absolutely, he’s played fantastically well,’ said Buttler, when asked whether Malan had made it impossible not to pick him. The obvious concern lies in Roy, who did not play in any of the four games due to repeated back spasms. And Buttler admitted that Roy is one of a handful of names who could be added to the squad for the threematch series against Ireland which starts on Wednesday. ‘He wants to be fit and playing and affecting games of cricket for England,’ Buttler said. As for Brook, he has failed his mini audition after a late call-up to the series against the Kiwis, scoring just 37 runs in three innings, but there is little doubt about his talent and he could slot in anywhere in the order as a spare batter. With Malan showcasing his class at the top of the order, maybe that problem has already been solved. For Buttler, either way it will be a tough call. Does he remain loyal to the man who was such an integral part to that winning campaign in 2019 or go for the man they had initially decided to leave out?