England have plenty of leaders who can step up in Jos Buttler’s absence, says

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Stuart Broad believes there are plenty of leaders in England’s dressing room who can come to the fore in Jos Buttler’s absence.

Two of England’s three T20 matches against Pakistan so far have been abandoned without a ball being bowled due to rain, with the fourth and final match of the series scheduled to be played at The Oval on Thursday, live on Sky Sports.

Moeen Ali was set to captain England in the third match which was rained off in Cardiff on Tuesday, with Buttler missing the game to be with his family due to the birth of his third child, and it remains unclear if he will be available for Thursday’s fixture.

This warm-up series is crucial ahead of England’s defence of the T20 World Cup – also live on Sky Sports – as fast bowler Jofra Archer looks to get back into the rhythm of international cricket after an unfortunate run of injuries forced him to the sidelines for more than a year.

“There’s a lot of leaders in this England changing room,” said Sky Sports’ Stuart Broad.

“Yes, you’ve had a couple of experienced players leave, but there’s still a huge amount left in there.

“Buttler’s absence doesn’t feel like a major loss because it gives people the opportunity to build more leaders around the group.”

Reflecting on England’s disappointing 50-over performances, Broad added: “I think the blips [mid-tournament] are important – because they strengthen your mindset again.

“They make you go, ‘what has got us here, what’s made us one of the top-ranked teams?’ It allows you to reconnect as a team, and that is where your leaders come to the fore.

“You can’t think of many franchise tournaments, Blast games, The Hundred, where teams have won every game.

“It would be very rare – looking ahead to this year’s T20 World Cup in the USA and Caribbean – for the winner to win every game through the tournament.

“You are going to lose along the way, it’s just a case of how you bounce back from that loss. And obviously you don’t want that to happen in a semi-final… you want to be peaking by that point.”

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Jofra Archer’s return to international cricket for the first time since March 2023 saw him smash a huge six and pick up two wickets

Buttler’s possible absence would provide England with a chance to see who else could open the batting alongside Phil Salt, while losing two of their warm-up games to the weather should not be too significant considering Will Jacks and Jonny Bairstow – the main options to partner Salt – featured in the Indian Premier League and so have recent T20 experience under their belts.

However, the abandoned matches will mean Archer’s reintroduction onto the international scene will be more staggered than expected.

“We talked about how much England need this series more than Pakistan when the first game was abandoned,” said Sky Sports’ John Morgan.

“I don’t think this will affect Pakistan’s preparations but it’s another game where other leaders could have stood up whilst Buttler isn’t here.

“I think the right decision has been made, conditions in Cardiff must have been absolutely sodden.

“Moeen will take the reins officially, but in the field and with the bat, considering how significant a piece Jos Buttler is to this team, it presented an opportunity for England to get some runs and wickets under their belt and build some confidence.”

Malan: Fantastically well-balanced England to do exceptionally well

Dawid Malan was part of the England T20 squad that won the World Cup in 2022 and he believes Buttler’s side are well-balanced.

However, England’s recent T20 series have not been promising.

Bangladesh completed a 3-0 whitewash over England in March 2023 and Buttler’s side drew their four-match series against New Zealand last September before crashing out of the 50-over World Cup.

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Nasser Hussain and Eoin Morgan discuss what the expectations are on Archer, and how to use him best throughout the World Cup

England also lost their most recent T20 series 3-2 against the West Indies in December and will be hoping The Oval presents them with one final opportunity to fine tune themselves before they fly to Barbados on Friday.

“I don’t think the rained-off matches will be too damaging, the boys have spent a lot of time together and a majority of them have spent time in the IPL,” Malan told Sky Sports News.

“They will have to try and get used to conditions in America and the West Indies, but they had a tour there recently so I think they’ll be fine.

“The 50-over World Cup is in the past now. I think they are fantastically well-balanced, they’ve got a good squad with the addition of Jofra Archer back from injury, which is fantastic for him.

“Hopefully him and Mark Wood are both fit and playing in the same team.”

The fourth and final T20 between England and Pakistan takes place at The Oval on Thursday with coverage live on Sky Sports Cricket from 6pm ahead of the first ball at 6.30pm.

You can also watch the T20 World Cup live on Sky Sports between June 1-29. England’s first match is against Scotland in Barbados on Tuesday June 4 (3.30pm UK and Ireland time).

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