Jos Buttler: England won’t be underestimating Scotland in T20 World Cup opener

Jos Buttler has promised his England side will bring “100 per cent intensity” when they kick off their T20 World Cup defence against neighbours Scotland.

Tuesday’s clash in Barbados will be the first ever 20-over international between the two nations and the first meeting of any kind since 2018, when the Scots sprung a huge ODI upset at The Grange in Edinburgh.

England will nevertheless go in as heavy favourites in their Group B opener and Buttler wants his players to give everything they have got to get the job done.

Scotland shocked England in Edinburgh in 2018.
Scotland shocked England in Edinburgh in 2018 (Jane Barlow/PA)

There will be more hype in the lead-up to Saturday’s meeting with rivals Australia but, with memories of last year’s troubled 50-over World Cup still fresh in the mind, where they lost six out of nine games, including a shock defeat to Afghanistan, there is no sense of complacency.

“We expect a tough challenge and we’re all excited for that,” Buttler said.

“They’ve come here to try and win games. They want to beat us and we want to beat them, so it’s pretty straightforward.

“There’s a good feeling amongst the team, we’ve had some good performances, but we’re fully focused on this game and we need to make sure we bring 100 per cent intensity to that first of all.

“Every game we have to be right on it. All we are focused on is that Scotland match and that is the biggest and most important thing right now.”

England appear to have the majority of their first-choice XI locked in, with Reece Topley and Mark Wood seemingly vying for the final seam bowling spot after alternating in the recent series against Pakistan.

Reece Topley (right) is up against Mark Wood for a place this week.
Reece Topley (right) is up against Mark Wood for a place this week (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Topley has been a consistent white-ball performer and offers a point of difference as a tall left-armer, while Wood’s ability to hit speeds of 95mph mark him out as outlier too.

Barring any unexpected surprises they will be lining up alongside Jofra Archer, whose long awaited return to fitness has leant the England attack a fresh edge.

Five years on from his England debut, the Barbados-born quick will finally get the chance to play for them in his hometown.

“Obviously he’s a real cool, calm, collected guy, but I’m sure there’s some emotion around that as well,” said Buttler.

“So it’s about understanding that he might be feeling those things. I’m sure he’ll have a lot of close friends and family here watching and I’m sure he’ll be desperate to perform well in front of them.

“We know what he’s capable of but we just need to allow him to be for a bit and not expect too much.”

England have plenty of local knowledge in their dressing room, with Archer joined by his fellow Bajan Chris Jordan as well as Phil Salt, who spent six years on the island during his childhood.

Their backroom staff has also made room for the hulking figure of Kieron Pollard, the former West Indies international who is on hand as a coaching consultant.

“Some of the guys have played with him or played lots of cricket against him, so he’s fitted in really well,” said Buttler.

“He knows everything about the Caribbean and he’s got that winner’s mindset. I think that’s something that we’re really tapping into. He’s won a lot of competitions around the world and won a couple of T20 World Cups, so it’s great to have guys like that around the group.”

:: The ICC has announced a record prize pot of GBP 8.8million for the tournament, with the winners due to collect GBP 1.92m and the runners-up in line for a GBP 1m bonus.