Jos Buttler says Hundred was great preparation for New Zealand series

By Sports Desk August 29, 2023

Jos Buttler believes the Hundred has made England “very battle-hardened” ahead of the white-ball series against New Zealand.

The competition’s third edition concluded at Lord’s on Sunday with Southern Brave winning the women’s competition before Oval Invincibles scooped the men’s prize.

England begin the T20 leg of the Black Caps’ tour at Chester-le-Street on Wednesday and plenty of players included in their squad have put in solid performances throughout the Hundred.

“I think everyone’s been playing high-class competitive cricket which is great,” skipper Buttler told a press conference.

“The Hundred I think was a brilliant tournament this year, lots of close games, a high-quality standard of cricket so everyone’s very battle-hardened.

“It’s great that we have a domestic competition that mirrors as closely as we can to international cricket.

“It’s not just the Hundred, you’re always looking for stuff, but that’s the great thing about that tournament, every game is televised, people step up and perform, those performances don’t get missed.

“It’s played in a high standard in front of big crowds, it’s great for us to have that tournament on our doorstep and be able to pick players from there.”

One player who stood out during the competition was seamer Gus Atkinson, who earned a maiden call-up to the England limited-overs squad.

The 25-year-old has been bowling at an extraordinary pace throughout the Hundred for the Invincibles, reaching speeds of 90mph, although it remains to be seen when he will be handed his England debut.

“Not sure (if Atkinson will play in the first T20), I think he’s one we want to look after very much,” Buttler said.

“Obviously he’s played a lot through the Hundred and obviously the final was only on Sunday.

“So we’ll see how he trains today and feels but I think you’ll see him make his debut at some point in the very near future.”

Buttler faced the paceman during the Hundred final, where his Manchester Originals side lost to the Invincibles, but he is looking forward to seeing Atkinson in action for England.

“I’m really excited to see him, obviously lots of people have been very aware of him for a while, and the pace he can bowl at, that’s a rare commodity, guys who can bowl that fast,” he said.

“So we’re really excited for him, just encourage him to be himself even though he’s now in an England shirt and excited to play on the same team as him.

“I faced him a couple of times in the Hundred and he’s got great pace, and I think he’s a really exciting prospect for us.”

Wednesday’s match is the first of four T20s followed by four ODIs ahead of a busy white-ball period which culminates with the 50-over World Cup in October, but the jam-packed schedule provides plenty of opportunities within the team.

“I think you always have a bit of a plan, but they’re always changeable, I think during the series and things can happen obviously,” Buttler added.

“So obviously our main priority is the New Zealand ODI series. We see that as a really competitive series against a top team.

“It would be great to get what we think is our best squad together and team together, look at a few combinations for the World Cup and that’s probably the highest priority at the moment.

“But any game you play for England is huge and we want to win. I think that’s something that always shines through whatever team we put up.

“We believe it’s a team that can win as well. So I’m really looking forward to this series.”

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