England have one final chance to leave India with a series win under their belts in Sunday’s one-day decider in Pune, with stand-in captain Jos Buttler asking his side to “push the boundaries” of their white-ball game once more.
The teams have traded heavy wins in the first two matches of the 50-over leg but the onus is on the tourists to make the running after losing the Test leg 3-1 and the Twenty20s 3-2.
The ODI format has been England’s comfort zone for most of the last five years, built around a fearless aggression with the bat that remains their favoured method.
The primary architect of their ultra-aggressive style, Eoin Morgan, is once again unfit but in Buttler he has a deputy who has not only signed up to the blueprint but also helped forge it.
Buttler was at the helm as England reeled off 20 sixes to chase down 337 with six wickets and 39 balls to spare and wants to see more of the same to secure some silverware.
“It’s great to be in another ‘final’, they are great games to be involved in,” he said.
“India are a fantastic side, they have a style they play and they have had a lot of success in doing that but we tend to focus on ourselves as much as we can.
“We want to play in a certain fashion, we want to push the boundaries of what we are capable of as a side and live true to that. The way I see the cricket is very closely aligned to Eoin.
“Myself and Eoin have a very similar view on the game and that runs throughout the team as well. It’s not just us as captain and vice-captain, it’s a lot of senior players, and anyone who really plays in the side, which is a big plus for English cricket.”
Buttler has led England on 11 previous occasions in limited-overs cricket, having first done so in
2015, but staring down Virat Kohli’s India in a shootout and winning would surely be his biggest day in the role to date – and it is one he feels ready for.
“I was thinking yesterday, if I wasn’t ready to step into Morgs’ shoes when he’s not playing now, I never would be,” he said.
“He’s one of the best captains I’ve ever played under and a great friend and I’ve learned a lot from talking to him about leadership and how he captains. That’s certainly helped me feel more comfortable.
“Although I do have experience as a player I don’t have loads of experience as a captain so there are some different feelings and emotions that you have to get used to.
“Someone like Virat is a very competitive guy and an emotional player, and he rides the emotions of the games. All of this series has been fiercely competitive.”
Meanwhile, it was announced that Jofra Archer is set to have surgery on a right hand injury.
The issue appears unconnected to the longer standing elbow complaint which saw the paceman miss two Tests against India and also ruled him out of the ODIs and is said to date back to a cut sustained while cleaning in January.
Archer played two Tests and five T20s while the matter was managed by medics, who were also looking after his increasingly troubling elbow problem. He was given an injection for the latter complaint earlier in the tour and has now had a second at the behest of a specialist.
He is already set to miss the early stages of the Indian Premier League next month but his rehabilitation timeline and future availability remain opaque.
“Jofra suffered a cut to his hand while cleaning at his home in January shortly before flying to India to prepare for the Test series. The injury was managed by the ECB’s medical team through the tour and it did not impact on his availability,” said an England spokesperson.
“Further investigation and a specialist opinion was sought upon his return to the UK and, in conjunction with the ECB medical panel, it has been decided that surgery is the best option to manage his injury in the longer term.
“He has also had a further injection for the right elbow injury that had seen him declared unfit for selection for the current ODI series versus India. The procedure on Jofra’s hand will take place on March 29 so he can recover during the planned break following his elbow injection.”