England limited-overs skipper Jos Buttler has admitted that it is at times ‘frustrating’ for him as captain to not have a full-strength side at his disposal due to certain individuals choosing franchise cricket over national duty, but has asserted that he ‘completely understands why’ players make such decisions.
On Thursday, England announced their squads for the white-ball tour of Bangladesh and the T20I squad did not feature Alex Hales, Sam Billings and Liam Dawson, all of whom opted to instead play in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) starting next month.
David Willey does not have a PSL contract, yet, but the all-rounder opted out of the tour to spend time with his family ahead of his Indian Premier League (IPL) stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
The Bangladesh ODIs starting a day after the New Zealand Tests means that the Three Lions will also be without the services of Joe Root, Harry Brook and other multi-format players in the 50-over games against the Tigers, in a World Cup year.
Buttler described the situation as a ‘unique’ one and stated that it’s up to the management to strike the right balance. The skipper, however, made it clear that he would never rule individuals permanently out for prioritizing franchise cricket over England.
"It's quite a unique situation. It's the time we are in,” Buttler said.
“The way the games are scheduled, I can sort of understand it both ways. As an England captain, on one side you wish that everyone would see playing for England as the main thing and grab any opportunity available.
"But there are bigger things in play as well and the discrepancy between what people can earn playing for England and not playing for England is quite large, so that's a factor that must be considered and for each individual that will be a different decision made at different times of their careers.
"In this day and age, you've got to try to work with it as best you can and if people make that choice to make themselves unavailable they know they're giving someone else a chance as well.
“I certainly don't want to be in a position where you rule people out and say they'll never play for England again or anything like that.
"Wherever people are playing, we want to pick our best available team, especially for World Cups and big ICC events, so we are open minded. It's quite complicated, for sure, and of course there are some frustrations at certain points but I completely understand people's positions and it's an individual decision at the end of the day."
England will, however, for the Bangladesh ODIs, have the services of Jofra Archer, who on Wednesday registered career-best figures of 6/40 to announce to the world that he was officially back. Archer, it is worth noting that, just came back from an extremely lengthy lay-off but Buttler stated that ‘it makes sense’ for the speedster to be playing and getting more overs under his belt in a World Cup year.
Acher, according to Buttler, is also itching to play as much as he can.
"He wants to play," Buttler said of Archer.
"When he's come back and he's fit, and there's cricket available, it doesn't seem to make sense to hold him back.
"He certainly needs to be playing cricket. You are always going to try to look after him and we will be guided by the medical team. But he has been sat on the sidelines for a long time and so if he's fit and available it makes sense for him to be playing.”
Regarded as an x-factor bowler that makes things happen, Buttler described Archer as a ‘captain’s delight’.
"We all know the levels he can perform at, so to see him get back to that kind of level so quickly is incredibly impressive. It's such a treat as a captain to have him there to throw the ball to.
"He really wants the big moments, it's something that he always stands up. Jofra wants the ball there and it's just a great thing as a captain to have someone there like that. The more and more cricket he plays, the better he's going to get."