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News

Jos Buttler 'still a while off' from return in Lahore leg of T20I series

England coach Matthew Mott warns captain won't be risked in fifth T20I

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
26-Sep-2022
Jos Buttler and his opposite number, Babar Azam, chat during the series launch  •  Getty Images

Jos Buttler and his opposite number, Babar Azam, chat during the series launch  •  Getty Images

England will not take any risks with Jos Buttler's fitness during the Lahore leg of their Pakistan tour as they look to ease him back from a calf injury sustained playing in the Hundred last month.
Buttler was never in contention to play in the first four T20Is in Karachi and, even with the series level at 2-2, he will not be considered for selection in the fifth game on Wednesday, the first of three at the Gaddafi Stadium.
He has played an active role at training on the tour and acted as 12th man during Pakistan's three-run victory on Sunday night, and clarified upon arrival in the country that he felt it was important to travel "whether fit to play the games or not".
"With regards to Jos, he's still a while off," Matthew Mott, England's coach, said on Sunday night. "He's not a player we want to take a risk on at this stage, so close to a World Cup, and it was a reasonably significant injury that he had.
"He's champing at the bit for a game but we'll just try and see how we go: maybe in the last game or two, he might be a chance."
England's last-gasp defeat on Sunday night meant that the series is squared heading into the Lahore leg of the trip - both teams travelled on Monday afternoon - and Mott added that playing in "high-pressure situations" would serve as ideal preparation for the World Cup next month.
"We couldn't ask for better preparation than games like tonight [Sunday] where it's all on the line with a couple of overs to go and players are under pressure. To play in high-pressure situations in front of a big crowd that was right into the game [is great].
"Yes, we would love to have won, but I think when you head into a World Cup, you want to play against good opposition in tough games and it's been every bit of that."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98