Buttler desperate to avoid record

Jos Buttler believes England need to play without fear

Jos Buttler believes England need to play without fear

First published in National Sport News © by

Wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler believes his team-mates must play without fear if they are to be avoid being branded as one of the worst England teams ever.

After 90 days without a single success against Australia on their winter tour, England are on the verge of their longest losing sequence.

Defeat in the fourth one-day international in Perth on Friday will match their worst ever run of 10 defeats, across all formats, suffered in 1993 and 2001.

Unsurprisingly, Buttler revealed an urgency amongst his peers to break their winter duck when they take on a weakened Australia at the WACA Ground.

"Obviously we are very desperate to avoid that (losing record)," Buttler said.

"It's not a tag anyone would like. You go into every game wanting to win it and we haven't done that this tour.

"Everyone is very disappointed with that fact, but Friday is another opportunity to try and turn that around."

The fact that Australia have inflicted all nine defeats, dating back to last summer, means confidence is hardly sky-high in the away dressing-room.

Perth is not the ideal destination to turn around fortunes either - England have not beaten Australia there in any format since New Year's Day 1987, while the Ashes were conceded before Christmas at this venue.

The self-inflicted uncertainty over Alastair Cook's captaincy - following his glum-faced press conference after Sunday's series-conceding defeat in Sydney - and the whirr of off-field headlines about the future direction of the team have added to a growing despair that a double-whitewash tour is likely.

Buttler, however, is determined not to be remembered in such unenviable terms.

The 23-year-old admits reversing the momentum of a troubled tour will not be straight-forward, but believes adopting an Australian-styled 'no worries' approach can net long-awaited success.

"One-day cricket is a tough game to play when your confidence has been knocked," he said.

"You need to play with that free, open mind. That's something we need to do.

"We can't worry about consequences of playing a shot and worrying about getting out.

"You've seen the Australians playing with a good brand of cricket and a very confident brand of cricket naturally because they are winning games.

"It's a very tough thing to do when you are losing games to not worry about the outcomes of potentially getting out and these sorts of things.

"That's something we have to do - lose that worry - and know what good players we are and be confident in that."

England spoke at length before an intense four-hour training session at the University of Western Australia on Tuesday and, after a day off on Wednesday, Buttler believes his team-mates are in the right frame of mind to effectively put plans into action.

"Everyone is feeling refreshed," he said.

"Everyone wants to win a game. No-one wants to leave Australia having not won a game of cricket.

"It is a major focus for us to win a game of cricket. We haven't done that on this tour and everyone knows why, because we haven't performed well enough.

"We have to turn that around at some point."

Australia moved to the top of the ODI world rankings on Wednesday, after India lost in New Zealand, and with an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series have opted to rest four of their key names - captain Michael Clarke, David Warner, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin.

Stand-in skipper George Bailey on Thursday conceded this was England's best chance to snatch a win, although that did not stop Australia naming their starting XI a day early.

In it they were still able to call up three Ashes winners, with Bailey, who has overcome a hip problem, Mitchell Johnson and Steve Smith joined by wicketkeeper Matthew Wade.

Given the strength of those names Buttler is not expecting an easy afternoon, with temperatures also set to soar for the only day game of the series.

"They still have a pretty strong squad," he said.

"Everyone who comes into their squad is obviously full of confidence because they've been winning games of cricket.

"It's going to be another tough game here at the WACA as well. I don't think playing Australia in any circumstances is going to be easy.

"We've got to put in a complete performance to win a game and that's something we haven't be able to do yet."

Australia's rise to the top of the ODI rankings has been built on the back of some heavy scoring - they have managed more than 300 in six of their past eight completed matches.

On the other two occasions they chased down England's scores in this series, reaching 243 for nine with 10 overs to spare in Sydney.

Buttler agrees that scoring 300 is therefore the bare minimum - a task England did manage in the dramatic one-wicket defeat in Brisbane last week, but only once in the whole of 2013.

"If you want to win games of cricket and the way teams can hit the ball with these regulations then 300 is the figure you need to get around," he said.

"When Australia were in India you were seeing scores of 350-360 and being chased down.

"With the new rules the sky is the limit almost."

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