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Time for England to perform - Buttler

Jos Buttler recognises that England need match-winning performances now rather than hopeful talk of what the future might hold

Alan Gardner
Alan Gardner
James Taylor goes through a net session, World Cup 2015, Sydney, February 8, 2015

England need young players such as James Taylor to stand up  •  Getty Images

Eoin Morgan has already called England's squad at this World Cup the "most talented" he has been part of but, if they are going to exceed modest expectations, they will need to sharpen their promise into a harder edge.
While the side has shown signs of improvement since Morgan replaced Alastair Cook little more than six weeks ago, their weaknesses were exposed during the heavy tri-series final defeat in Perth - and it will be Australia again waiting for them at the MCG next Saturday. Over the last two years, England have the worst economy rate in the last ten overs of all the top-eight sides, and the second-worst scoring rate, which suggests they will have to rapidly improve their decision-making at a key stage of the game.
In that time, players such as Cook, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen have all departed, and although there is genuine excitement about the new generation, they face being hot-housed in one of cricket's more unforgiving environments. Jos Buttler has a little more experience than most, having made his debut alongside that senior core in 2012, as well as talent to spare and he recognises that England need match-winning performances now rather than hopeful talk of what the future might hold.
"It is a much younger but probably more inexperienced and exciting side. 'Exciting' and 'development' are great words but now we know we have to perform," he said. "That doesn't really wash any more. It is about being in a tournament, winning games of cricket, getting to a quarter-final and then getting as far as we can.
"I want to be a consistent performer, not somebody who could be a good player for England. It's great to have potential, it's great to have talent but there comes a stage where you want so be someone where media and commentators talk about you being a performer for England. That's the stage you have got to get to. Someone like Virat Kohli has played a lot more games but he is only 26 and he performs on a stage which is the world's best, so age is irrelevant, it is about performance. Virat Kohli is not the finished article but he performs at a level which is what everyone aspires to get to as fast as they can."
England's cycle of World Cup planning has tended to end with a punctured tire, and they have not reached the last four of the tournament since 1992. The suspicion has often been that one-day cricket does not sufficiently rouse the English but Morgan's squad has more than a dollop of dash and Buttler suggested that there may even be an upside to youthful naivety.
"I don't think you ever need added incentive to be hungry for a World Cup," he said. "Obviously some of the guys are inexperienced and younger so we come in with no baggage from any other World Cups, or pre-conceived ideas. We're determined to enjoy the experience as well, obviously it is something that only comes around once every four years so for the 15 guys to be here and have the opportunity is very special and no one takes it for granted. Everyone is determined to enjoy it and play with that freedom that we should play with."
James Taylor is a case in point. He has only played 11 ODIs yet will occupy the pivotal No. 3 spot in the batting line-up, fulfilling a World Cup goal that has been several years in the making. Taylor has made a career of proving doubters wrong and he said that, with just two warm-up matches to go, England were beginning to believe they can upset the hosts and No. 1-ranked side when the tournament gets going in a few days' time.
"The guys are on a high at the moment," he said. "It was a disappointing loss in the tri-series final but to get there by beating India convincingly in a couple of games was great and we are full of confidence. The talent in this squad is unbelievable and the belief is getting there. The boys are confident and in good form so it would be nice to put in some convincing performances leading up to that big game at the MCG.
"The Australians are in unbelievable form at the moment and what a great boost it would be for us to bring them down. They have played a few good games against us now but it will only take one good game for us to put one over them and hopefully that is going to happen on the 14th. I know we will not be intimidated. We have not got a lot to lose. Everyone is expecting them to come out on top given the last few games and the guys are so excited. Hopefully we are building in the right direction and Australia have peaked."

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick