ANI Photo | “It has been a while since I played well,” admits England skipper Buttler after loss to WI

Following his side’s four-wicket loss to West Indies in the first ODI, England skipper Jos Buttler admitted that it has been a while since he has played well as a batter, but needs to work hard and trust that his form will be back.
West Indies created history at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Sunday as they registered a thrilling four-wicket victory over England in the first ODI of their three-game series, with skipper Shai Hope emerging as a hero with his 16th ODI century.
“You always want to play well and it’s been a little while since I have played well,” Buttler said in the post-match interview as quoted by Sky Sports.
“I just need to work hard and trust that it will come back,” he added.
In the last 10 innings in ODIs, Buttler has managed just 141 runs at an average of 14.10, with best score of 43. In the recently concluded Cricket World Cup, Buttler scored just 138 runs in nine innings at an average of 15.33, with the best score of 43. His disappointing run with the bat contributed to England’s miserable World Cup campaign which saw them win just three out of nine matches.
Buttler lauded West Indies skipper Shai Hope and his team for their batting effort and was happy with the efforts of his own team as a batting unit as well.
“Fantastic game of cricket. A lot of credit goes to Shai Hope. We asked a lot of questions of them but they played really well towards the end. Thought it was a fantastic batting effort (from England), really loved the intent that the guys came out with. The wicket was a bit tricky in the middle, they bowled well and slowed it up but it was a great effort. A brilliant game of cricket, credit to Shai Hope and Shepherd, it was fantastic hitting and we will learn a lot from that. We did some things well, lot to take out of it, we’re looking forward to the next,” said the skipper.
Coming to the match, England opted to bat first and scored 325 runs. Openers Phil Salt (45 in 28 balls, with five fours and three sixes) and Will Jacks (26 in 24 balls, with three fours and a six) put on 77 for the opening wicket within nine overs.
But some tight bowling did not allow Zak Crawley (48 in 63 balls, with five fours), Ben Duckett (20 in 23 balls, with four boundaries) and skipper Jos Buttler (3) to go big. England was 191/5 at one point.
Harry Brook counterattacked bowlers despite the fall of wickets at the other end, scoring 71 in 72 balls, with seven fours and two sixes. Later, a 66-run partnership for the eighth wicket between Sam Curran (38 in 26 balls, with three fours and two sixes) and Brydon Carse (31* in 21 balls, with two fours and two sixes) took England beyond the 300-run mark.
Gudakesh Motie (2/49), Oshane Thomas (2/57) and Romario Shepherd (2/77) were the pick of the bowlers as the visitors were dismissed for 325 on the final delivery of their innings.
England still would have fancied their chances of defending the total, but a 104-run stand between openers Alick Athanaze (66 in 65 balls, with nine fours and two sixes) and Brandon King (35 in 44 balls, with four boundaries and a six) spelt trouble for English bowlers.
The 2019 World Cup champions did not count on an inspired Hope smashing seven sixes during a quickfire innings of 109* that turned the momentum of the match towards the hosts. Hope’s innings came from just 83 deliveries and some lofty late hitting from Romario Shepherd (49 off 28 balls, with four boundaries and three sixes) ensured the West Indies claimed the victory much to the delight of the raucous Antiguan crowd.
Spinner Rehan Ahmed (2/40) and pacer Gus Atkinson (2/63) were the pick of the bowlers for England.
Hope was given the ‘Player of the Match’ award for his century. West Indies lead the three-match series 1-0. (ANI)

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