England came into this World Cup as red-hot favourites but are now under pressure of losing out on a spot in the semifinals. The Eoin Morgan-led side will have to win both of their remaining games against India and New Zealand and their wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler admits there's "external pressure" on the team.
England have lost their last two encounters against Sri Lanka and Australia and are in sort of a do-or-die situation. The hosts have eight points to their name and their next match is against India who are the only unbeaten side in this competition. The second-ranked ODI side can still make it to the semifinals if they win only one of their remaining two matches but for that they will have to rely on other results.
The pressure is on England and few of the pundits like Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen have been pretty vocal about how this team is crumbling under the pressure of being favourites.
“Expectation is something England sides have not always had. I have played in England sides where the expectations were very low,” said Buttler.
“The mood in the camp is still very good. Naturally, there is some external pressure and it would be naïve to say we have got our blinkers on. We just have to accept those things. We know they are going to happen. We know the position we are in, nothing has changed. When we play our best cricket, we are in a position to win.
“We have the opportunity to put things right and everyone has turned up with a smile on their face.
“Everyone here wants us to do well and, being such a good side, when we don’t perform at our best, it is frustrating. But there has been lots of goodwill so there are good signs for me.”
Injured opener Jason Roy is most likely to make his return against India and England will be delighted with this news. His replacement James Vince has been below par, while Roy was in superb form before he suffered a hamstring injury against West Indies.
Buttler said Roy's presence will serve as a great boost for England.
“He looks pretty good. I think he has been progressing nicely so it is nice to see him back in the nets, back in the group and taking part,” said Buttler.
“I’m sure the medical team will know more than I do but he looks pretty good. He has been a very important player for us a long time.
“We know we can perform better as a group and Jason is a fantastic player to have available. It would be a boost to have him play.”
Edgbaston is expected to be a sea of colour and a cauldron of noise on Sunday (June 30), with as many Indian fans as English ones expected to pack into the stands.
“This is the reason we play the game. We know, favourites or underdogs, that all these are hard matches – especially against India, who are brilliant. We know we need to play better and we are capable. We look forward to playing a strong India team," added Buttler.
“Pressure is privileged sometimes and we are in a very privileged position. These are the games we will look back on or look forward to at the start of your career and hope to be involved in.
“We know the support India will get. Wherever they go in the world it’s the same but we hope to have some great support as well. It is going to be a great game.”