Jos Buttler warns England not to become ‘consumed’ by run rate against Oman

England captain Jos Buttler has warned his side not to become “consumed” by the idea of thrashing Oman as they look to shore up their chances of progressing at the T20 World Cup.

With Scotland and Australia occupying the top two places in Group B, the defending champions are likely to need maximum points from their last two games as well as a major uplift in their net run rate.

A 36-run loss to their Ashes rivals, followed by Scotland’s heavy win over the Omanis, has left England with a big deficit to recover if it comes down to a tie-breaker.

And while team analysts will be busy compiling data packs to cover all eventualities ahead of Thursday’s match in Antigua, Buttler wants his men to secure the result before attempting to flex their muscles.

England captain Jos Buttler (right) and Scotland captain Richie Berrington meet at the toss at the T20 World Cup in Barbados.
England could find themselves separated from Scotland on net run-rate (Ricardo Mazalan/AP)

“I don’t think it’s s*** or bust quite yet. I think it’s quite clear what we need to do and how we need to play,” he said.

“First and foremost, we need to win the game against Oman to have any chance going forward into the next one. If we can get ourselves in a position to affect our net run-rate, obviously that’s what we need to do.

“That’s the situation we find ourselves in, so we have to be aware of that but not be consumed by it. If we try and do that bit first, forget about trying to win the game and lose, then you’ve got no chance anyway. I’d rather have some kind of chance going into the last game and know exactly what we need to do.”

Buttler was not scheduled to speak on Tuesday, with team-mate Liam Livingstone originally slated to take questions. His decision to front up on behalf of the team, at a time when questions are being asked about a leadership regime that also endured a poor campaign at last year’s 50-over World Cup, perhaps suggests a desire to take control of the narrative and show strength.

But he denied he was feeling the heat.

“Not any more so than usual. I care more about the team than the media and the outside noise,” he said.

Brian Lara celebrates breaking the world record for a Test innings at the Recreation Ground in 2004.
England were training at the Recreation Ground in Antigua, home to two world record innings by Brian Lara (pictured) (PA Media/PA)

“That’s always there, it’s part of international sport. If you get to this level you have to be able to deal with it, the stuff that gets written.

“I’ve played the game long enough now to know that it’s very good at building people up and pretty good at criticising when it doesn’t go right, especially in England. I don’t do it on social media but I do the same thing when I’m watching a game of football or rugby – how’s he missed that from there? There’s a level of acceptance.”

Despite his own insistence that his team would take a measured approach to their next outing, it was notable to see Buttler at the forefront of an explosive session of range-hitting in the nets at the Recreation Ground in St John’s. Ball after ball disappeared for six, including several which left the stadium entirely and peppered the traffic on the busy Factory Road.

Big games, including those at this tournament, are now held at a shiny out-of-town stadium in North Sound but the ‘Old Rec’ has more stories to tell, including Brian Lara’s world record Test innings of 375 and 400 not out. Both knocks came against England, in 1994 and 2004, and the memories of those unforgettable moments live on.

“It’s pretty cool to be here at a historic ground where special things have happened,” said Buttler.

“Obviously there’s Lara…I’m sure a few of the guys will get in the nets and try to imitate him hitting Gareth Batty over the stands. It’s special and one of the great things about playing cricket in the Caribbean, that history and tradition.”