London: England batsman-wicketkeeper Jos Buttler says he will not hesitate to play unorthodox shots against Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga when the two teams come up against each other at The Oval on Thursday. Buttler's match-winning 16-ball 47 against New Zealand in and ODI last week contained some audacious and innovative shots, and the 22-year-old has backed himself to provide an encore against the craftiest fast bowler in the game.
"Any shot is harder against reverse swing, but the scoop is a big part of my game," Buttler said on Wednesday. "I practice it a lot and if I feel the situation is right I won't be afraid to play it. I played against Malinga in the Champions League for Somerset against Mumbai and also in the World T20. I didn't score many against him in the Champions League.
"He's a world-class bowler and everyone knows how good he is. But I'm confident I can put in some good performances against him. He's different, but he's been around a while so people are more used to him now than when he first came on to the scene."
Mahela Jayawardene, the former Sri Lanka captain, urged the opposition batsmen to try and paddle Malinga at their own peril. "Let them try it and we'll see," he said. "It is a big chance if you want to go for it. It is a calculated risk and a few guys have tried. Some have come off and some haven't and some have got hurt.
"I wish them all the best with it, I wouldn't do it against Malinga but if they want to do it then that is up to them. I remember a few tried and got hit on the toe and hit on the wrist and all that stuff so you've got to be very, very careful. I don't play it. Dilshan doesn't play it against him either, not at all and not in the nets. Why would you want to do that? That is ridiculous."
England beat Australia in the ICC Champions Trophy opener while Sri Lanka lost to New Zealand by one wicket. Sri Lanka need a win against England to stay alive in the tournament, while a win for the hosts will propel them into the semi-finals.