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Buttler relishes fear factor as England look to battle back

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'Chasing can be an advantage' - Buttler (1:59)

Jos Buttler talks about the Cuttack wicket, Indian batting line up and the selection dilemma in the England team (1:59)

Jos Buttler is relishing the fear factor that has been attributed to him over the last few years, and especially on Wednesday evening by an Indian player. On the eve of the second ODI in Cuttack, where England hope to launch their comeback in the three-match series, India opener KL Rahul was asked which England batsmen he thought were the biggest threats for India. He was given one option - Buttler - and he didn't need more.

"When he was batting in the last game we were worried about Jos, because we know what he can do at the death," Rahul said. "We've watched him in the IPL, he can play around the wicket, he's a 360-degree player. We'll have to make sure to get him out early, that's our best chance. We've seen how he's changed scenarios and won games for England."

When told a couple of hours later about what Rahul had said, Buttler kept a straight face but took pride in the kind of menacing match-winning for which his opponent had singled him out.

"Yes, I really enjoy that," Buttler said in acknowledgement. "That's something I want to be as a player, someone who can win games for England. The real motivation is to try and win games of cricket for England and to stand up and take responsibility to do that. That's something I really want to develop even more as a player and try and keep doing for this side.

"Especially in this series, it is a fantastic challenge for us. As a group, we've made good strides in the last couple of years and playing India in these conditions and against these crowds is a fantastic challenge. That's something that, personally, I want to stand up and overcome."

Buttler, after all, has been one of the batting mainstays in England's new wave in the last two years, breaking numerous records in limited-overs matches. Since the 2015 World Cup, he has scored 968 runs at 53.77 in 23 innings with a staggering strike rate of 132.78, which is faster than any other batsman (minimum 15 innings).

He also resumed his Test career against India before Christmas, after a year on the sidelines, but his most notable feat this winter was to lead the England ODI side to a series win in Bangladesh - something Pakistan, India and South Africa were unable to achieve in the last two years. It was probably that recent leadership stint that, when asked about his own game, led him to talk as much about the team as his own performances.

"As a side, if we can come from 1-0 down and win the series 2-1... obviously we've got to progress one game at a time but I think it is great that we can get that excitement, not just for myself but for the group, that straight away, tomorrow is a knockout type of a game. I think that's a real motivation."

England could probably count themselves somewhat unlucky to be a defeat away from a series loss in a three-match contest, despite scoring 350 and reducing India to 63 for 4 in the chase. Buttler, however, looked at the other side of the story - how the two teams had gone about scoring those 350 runs.

"There are a lot of positives for us to take from the other game," he said. "We reached 350 without anyone going on getting a hundred. That's the difference between the two sides, two guys standing up for the Indian team and going past the three figures. Getting to 350 should give us confidence. Guys do go on and make telling contributions, 350-plus is achievable for us as a side."

The Barabati Stadium, the venue for the second ODI, does not have big boundaries and may easily play host to another high-scoring match. It is only slightly bigger than the MCA Stadium in Pune and looked like a "very good batting wicket". While there may be some dew, making bowling second more difficult, Buttler said that, even though England had recently put other teams under pressure by putting massive totals on the scoreboard first, batting first on flat tracks is not always the best option as one could not be sure what score would be enough.

So was batting second an advantage? "It can be," he said. "Sometimes it is good to know exactly what you are chasing. Sometimes the challenge on very good wickets is trying to pace the innings when you're not chasing a score. So it's probably tough to be estimating what way you need to get to and what you need to get to, to be a winning score.

"I think we weren't far away the other day. Probably when I got out was the time when we were looking to really pick up the pace. Between 30 and 40 overs can be quite a crucial time. So chasing can be an advantage, obviously knowing exactly what is required. Whether you bat or bowl first, you have to do it very well and one of the strengths of our side has been winning the toss and batting and putting teams under immense pressure by putting a score on the board. We had India at 60 for 4 and 350 seemed a long way away. I think both have advantages."

Buttler was also happy to go back to being vice-captain on the return of regular captain Eoin Morgan. After leading England to a 2-1 series win in Bangladesh, Buttler said it was good to be the deputy as well as the wicketkeeper to offer advice.

"Yes definitely, I'm enjoying it [vice-captaincy]," he said. "Under Eoin, it's fantastic to have him back. As a wicketkeeper, your role is to always offer advice to the captain and try and come up with plans and solutions.

"He has a wealth of experience; he's played a lot of cricket compared to the young group that we are. His vision for the game as to where the side should get to, he's a fantastic leader in that sense. He really champions people playing in the way they believe and he goes out and shows that in the way he plays and he has done that for England.

"He's probably one of the first revolutionary players for England and that shows in the group in the way the people look to him, the way he's taking his career forward and the way he champions guys to play. He gives guys a lot of confidence to go out there and play in that fashion. He's very calm under pressure, a very forward thinking guy."