Just four days after Jos Buttler lifted the T20 World Cup trophy in Melbourne, he was back to the grind, leading England in what has been described as a ‘meaningless’ bilateral ODI series against Australia. It’s another matter that England lost all three ODIs - the last one by a record margin but Buttler isn’t concerned by his team’s listless show.
The ODI series wasn’t part of ICC’s Super League and England took the field with a depleted side with several of their players busy in Abu Dhabi as part of their preparations for the upcoming Test tour of Pakistan.
“It was always going to be a tough series for us, coming off the back of the World Cup," captain Buttler told BBC. “It’s just been a few games too far and fair play to Australia, they have outplayed us. It’s not part of the ranking system [Super League] so there’s not as much on the games as there would be."
He added, “Any time England play Australia you want to put up good performances, but it’s just been hard. I’m not fussed at all about the results, to be honest. We’ve got exactly what we wanted from [the tour to] Australia."
He implored the governing bodies to find solutions to make bilateral series relevant citing the Australia series as a good example of how not to do it.
“Just to take care of it, find a way to keep it all relevant. Maybe the ICC tournaments should be a little bit more spread out: it gives you a little bit more time to prepare and it makes them probably a bit more special when they do come around as well," Buttler said.
“The landscape of cricket has changed dramatically over the last few years, and we’re in a different time. Lots of people are talking about how you keep bilateral cricket relevant and I think this series is a good example of how probably not to do it," he added.
The amount of cricket being played has also diluted the interest among fans with Melbourne Cricket Ground, the venue of the third ODI, registering an attendance of just 10,406 fans against its capacity of 90,000.
Buttler is also concerned about the players not getting enough time away from cricket with series overlapping forcing them to pick and choose formats.
“I think one of the biggest things is having overlapping series. We’ve got a group of players preparing for a Test series that shortly starts in Pakistan and we’ve got a team playing here at the same time. In the new year, a Test match [in New Zealand] finishes one day, and an ODI series starts the very next day in Bangladesh," he said.
“I feel a bit for the players, to be honest - the ones who are young and coming into the game at the moment. You want to play all formats and I don’t think the schedule really gives you that chance at the minute," he added.