JOS BUTTLER has told his England team-mates to embrace the pressure of being World Cup favourites.
Eoin Morgan’s stylish one-day side, ranked No 1 in the world, have never won a global 50-over trophy.
James Robinson Jos Buttler has told his England team-mates to embrace the pressure on them for the Cricket World Cup
But big-hitting batsman and wicketkeeper Buttler is convinced England have all the tools to triumph on home soil this summer.
The previous two World Cup winners — India in 2011 and Australia four years ago — both succeeded on their own turf.
And Buttler, Morgan’s vice- captain in the swashbuckling ODI team which romped to a 4-0 series win over Pakistan last week, reckons his attack-minded pals have never been better prepared to achieve glory.
England continue the build-up to Thursday’s tournament opener against South Africa at The Oval with a warm-up versus the Aussies in Southampton today.
Buttler said: “The favourites’ tag can be a positive thing because it means you’ve been playing well.
“We can use that as a positive to show we’re in a great place and also use playing at home as an advantage instead of a burden.
“I think embrace the pressure. If anything, playing at home should give us confidence. That’s been the case the last two times.
“The preparation for the World Cup has been perfect for us.
I think embrace the pressure. If anything, playing at home should give us confidence. That’s been the case the last two times.Jos Buttler
“I don’t think an England team has ever been as well prepared or playing as well going into a tournament as we are at the minute. We’ve got a huge opportunity and it’s down to us to continue the way we’ve been playing.
“We’ve had great success over the last few years and going in to a big tournament it’s about trusting our methods.
“Throughout the tournament we’re going to have tough periods throughout games and we’re going to be put under pressure.
“But we have to make sure we keep coming back to the things that have worked well and trust them even more so. We’re in a great place and peaking nicely for a World Cup.”
England’s cricket stars will take centre stage with the sporting public this summer as no major football tournament is being held.
Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions brought World Cup fever back home by reaching football’s semi-finals in Russia 12 months ago.
Buttler watched Harry Kane and Co excel and believes his team-mates can also have a huge impact on a future set of fans with big performances.
Buttler, 28, added: “There’s an opportunity for cricket in this country with the World Cup and Ashes this summer to inspire a generation and bring people into the game.
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“There’s no real competition with other sports, so cricket is really the main focus of the country.
“As we saw with the football World Cup, it was so impressive to see the way they really connected with the country in the way they played and I think we can do that as a side as well.
“To win the tournament would mean everything.
“It would be the culmination of loads of work, a lot of planning and excellent performances so far. I believe the team can continue to improve.”
England flopped at the last World Cup Down Under in 2015 where they were humiliated by Bangladesh and knocked out in the group stage. But the team have been transformed under coach Trevor Bayliss.
Their battery of destructive batsmen have hogged most of the limelight.
But Buttler, speaking at the launch of OPPO’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 ‘Shot Maker’ campaign, is looking forward to watching our bowling big guns.
JOS THE TICKET
Jofra Archer and Mark Wood both bowl in excess of 90mph.
And Buttler added: “It’s exciting. I have the best seat in the house to watch guys like that perform. One of the best things about keeping wicket is seeing these guys charge in.”
What is it like facing Archer in the nets? “Not much fun!” quipped Buttler, who played alongside the England new boy for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.
“It’s that languid pace that makes him feel even faster. You think he’s just having a net and going through the motions but with the flick of the wrist he seems to get a lot of pace.”
Buttler will be reunited with another IPL team-mate Steve Smith at the Rose Bowl today.
Smith and David Warner are back on the international scene and expected to face a hostile reception after serving their one-year bans over the Sandpapergate ball-tampering scandal.
Buttler said: “I’m sure Steve will get his career back on track for Australia.
“Beforehand, he was one of the best players in the world and that won’t change after his 12 months out.
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“I’ve seen him up close at the IPL and he’s starting to find that form again.
“I don’t think you have warm-up games against Australia. It’s going to be a tough game.
“It will be high intensity and serve us well as preparation for the real thing.”
JOS BUTTLER was speaking at the UK launch of OPPO’s Reno Series where the mobile phone brand unveiled its official ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 advert starring the England ‘Shot Maker’. Search @oppo on Twitter to watch the advert and find out more about Reno.
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