Jos Buttler tells England to ‘let it hurt’ after World Cup loss to Afghanistan

By Sports Desk October 15, 2023

England captain Jos Buttler told his side to “let it hurt” after their World Cup campaign hit the skids with a shock defeat to Afghanistan.

The defending champions were thrashed by 69 runs in Delhi, dismissed for 215 with almost 10 overs to spare by a team who walked into the contest with a record of 16 defeats from the previous 17 World Cup matches.

That their only previous success came against associates Scotland in 2015 makes the result, and the comfortable margin, even more remarkable.

And while it will go down in Afghan sporting history, England may end up reflecting on the day their title defence ended.

They are not down and out yet, with six group games still to play, but two losses from their first three games mean they must put together a near-perfect run to reach the semi-finals.

Buttler looked drained and drawn by events at the Arun Jaitley Stadium and accepted his side would need to feel some pain before plotting their response.

“It’s really disappointing. We came here today wanting to put in a really good performance and we got outplayed,” he said.

“You’ve got to let these defeats hurt. Let it hurt; then try to figure out where we need to get better.

“It never feels good; you never like losing games of cricket or not performing to the level you want to.

“As a whole, we were not at the level we would like to be in a World Cup. On the field and off it, we will be trying to put it right.

“It’s a big setback. Before the tournament started it’s not how you would have looked at the first three results.

“We’ve got to show a lot of character, a lot of resilience within the team and most of all a lot of belief.”

England have plenty of issues to ponder when they relocate to Mumbai for what now seems a must-win clash against in-form South Africa.

Chris Woakes continued an underwhelming start to the tournament and was awarded just four of his allotted 10 overs after being flogged for 41.

For a player who has so often set England up with new ball discipline, his struggles appear emblematic of a team struggling to reach their own high bar.

Woakes sent down a wide from the first ball of the match, with Buttler nutmegging himself behind the stumps as the ball tricked away to the boundary rope. As a portent of what was to come, it felt apt.

It was also telling that England ended up relying on 24 overs of spin having overlooked Moeen Ali – including a full 10 from Liam Livingstone for the first time in ODI cricket and four from the part-time Joe Root.

“Maybe the conditions didn’t play quite as we thought they would. Obviously throughout our bowling innings, spin was the main threat,” he said.

“Maybe there wasn’t quite as much dew as we thought there was and maybe the pitch didn’t quite play how we thought it would having watched a few games here so far in the tournament.

“But first ball of the day I missed one and it sort of set the tone.”

Former England batter Jonathan Trott, forging a new path now as the Afghanistan head coach, was beaming after landing the biggest scalps of his career.

“It’s always nice. I think I’ll take any victory. I’m very proud of the performance, whether it’s against England or not,” he said.

“I know that the players and the coaching staff deserve it. I’m very keen not to put a dampener on things.

“I never soaked up enough or enjoyed moments like this. I’m certainly going to say to the guys, enjoy tonight and, spend the time together, whatever you want to do.

“If this can bring a smile to people’s faces anywhere in the world, but also encourage boys and girls to pick up a cricket bat or a cricket ball and get playing cricket in Afghanistan, then that’s the sort of the goal that’s been achieved.”

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