Jos Buttler who will lead England in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup final on Sunday against Pakistan in Melbourne said that he used to fantasise about captaining England to cricketing glory when he played with his siblings in their garden as a child.

The dynamic wicketkeeper-batsman leading his first major tournament since succeeding Eoin Morgan as white-ball skipper also admitted those childhood memories had come flooding back.

Buttler’s appointment as skipper in July came just days after Morgan announced his retirement from international cricket. Morgan oversaw England’s white-ball revival following their embarrassing first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup.

Buttler, who was Morgan’s vice-captain, says he feels like he is leading another new era after Morgan’s retirement.

Here are excerpts from the pre-match press conference:

Q. Jos, can I start by asking how Dawid (Malan) and Mark (Wood) are, and are either likely to play tomorrow and who’s likelier of the two?

JOS BUTTLER: Yeah, they’re both improving. Of course it’s not too many days since not being fit enough for the semi-final, but again, we’ll give them every chance possible.

Q. You’re just one game away from being ODI and T20 world champions. Must be a heck of a lot of excitement in the dressing room?

JOS BUTTLER: Yeah, naturally there’s huge excitement for the match. Anytime you get a chance to play in a World Cup final is a huge honour. We’re really excited as a group. There seems a nice feel around the team.

Naturally the previous performance gives us lots of confidence, but it doesn’t count for anything tomorrow. We start a fresh game against a really tough opposition, and anytime you’re fighting for a trophy, you know that it’s not going to come easy.

Q. You guys have played against each other quite a lot in the last couple of months; are there any secrets between you two, and could one edge be the fact that you guys have played a few World Cup finals whereas most of the Pakistan team haven’t?

JOS BUTTLER: Yeah, we’ve played against them a lot recently, but of course in very different conditions. I think that’s probably the main factor about even though we’ve played each other quite a few games here at Melbourne, it’s going to be a different game to the series, obviously, in Pakistan.

We know we’re up against an excellent team. That’s exactly what you expect in a World Cup final, and we’ll focus on them a little bit and focus on us a lot and what we need to do to prepare well today to turn up tomorrow and give the best account of ourselves.

Q. At the start of the tournament you said this is a new era obviously under yourself and Matthew. A lot of the players are pretty experienced now, a few in their 30s. How much longer do you think you can proceed as a group? Is it a new era, or is it coming toward the end, as it were, for yourselves as a group, and there might not be that many more chances for world tournaments?

JOS BUTTLER: Yeah, I don’t think there’s any time there’s loads of chances for world tournaments. They don’t come around too often. As a group a few of us getting a little bit older, but I think in the professional age you can generally play a little bit longer maybe if you look after yourself, and of course there’s always plenty to play for.

Yeah, certainly a new era in terms of the coach, the captain. It’s a different time as a group. Plenty of similar personnel. But playing across a different era, I think that’s what I kind of meant.

I think that happens in terms of teams and team cycles. You’re never quite sure how long things are going to last for you as a player or as an era, as such. But certainly you don’t come down these roads very often, whether you’re a youngster or whether you’re into your 30s. Of course the chances are going to be fewer and fewer when you’re a bit older. But that just gives you that added determination and drive to try and make it happen.

Q. Still very much the beginning for this team?

JOS BUTTLER: Yeah, I see that as the point. Hopefully I’ve got more time ahead myself as a captain and with Matthew Mott we can hopefully shape the next, as I say, era of English white ball cricket.

Of course we’re still reaping the rewards of Eoin Morgan’s tenureship and the changes that have happened in the white ball game in England, and that’s clear to see in the strength and depth of the talent we now have in the white ball game in England. We’re very much right in the back of that wave, of course, but there’s a bit of a new direction, as well.

Q. Jos, are you giving yourself a chance to think about what it might be actually like to lift the World Cup as captain? It doesn’t happen very often in all sports, and they can be pretty special things for a country as well as supporters of a team.

JOS BUTTLER: Yeah, I’ve certainly had a few dreams about that kind of thing, and of course I think it really links back to what you were like as a kid really, the kind of things you would be doing in the garden with your brother and sister, pretending to lift a trophy and that kind of thing, and now to be able to have the opportunity to have a chance to live that kind of thing out is incredibly special.

I think it’s fine to sort of think about those things and sort of what it might feel like or what it would mean. They’re certainly feelings I don’t feel like I need to try and block out or push away. You almost accept those kind of things as like accepting the noise that comes with a World Cup final, accepting that it feels a little bit different. Again, the room is fuller than it has been for any other game, obviously. Don’t need to try and push it away and say it’s no different tomorrow. Of course it is.

But once you’ve accepted those things, again, it’s about focusing on the things that you know will serve us well as a group and as a team, as an individual what you need to do to prepare to play your best game of cricket tomorrow.

Q. Do you get at all kind of inspired or motivated? There’s quite a few World Cups going on at the moment. The Women’s Rugby Union are in a World Cup final in New Zealand; there’s a Rugby League World Cup going on; there’s a football World Cup about to start in Qatar. Do you allow yourself to think that maybe we could start something special and lead the way?

JOS BUTTLER: Yeah, I certainly hope so. Sport is such a huge part of English culture, and getting behind teams in World Cups is certainly something I know happens a lot in England. Even though we’re on the other side of the world, you can certainly feel that support. The images you see of the Euros, obviously, nothing with compete with football in our country, but the level of interest, of course the game is going to be on free-to-air television, as well, which is fantastic, will bring new eyes to the game, as well.

We saw the benefit of that in 2019 with some of the images of people watching that game and Trafalgar Square being packed out and stuff. I’m not sure they’ll be getting up at 8:00 in the morning to get to Trafalgar Square, but I am sure there will be plenty back home wishing us well, as we do to the other teams that you mentioned who have got some big games ahead of themselves, as well.

Q. I’ve been watching through the tournament as you get in a pretty much huddle with the team and you turn to address them, and I was just wondering what kind of message you try to give across at that time, and if that role as kind of pre-match inspiration or whatever you’re trying to do, if that role comes naturally to you?

JOS BUTTLER: Yeah, I think it comes pretty naturally. It’s something I’ve never been shy of addressing a team that I am playing in, whether I’m captain or not. So it’s something that comes naturally. The message changes; it depends on the feel around the group on that day, the situation ahead of us or the situation that we’ve just gone through. Your messages change a little bit.

But the consistent message is always to take the game on. I think that’s something we pride ourselves on as a group. We must try and play with a level of freedom and allow ourselves to express the huge amounts of talent that we have as a group.

Q. Obviously it’s your first year as captain, your first tournament as captain. Other than having to talk to us more often than you might like, are you enjoying the added kind of responsibility and stress that comes with that?

JOS BUTTLER: Yeah, I think I certainly enjoy some bits a bit more than others. But yeah, definitely. I think talking about teams and going through different eras, I think it’s part of my own sort of journey as a player and as a person to now be at this stage of my career where I’m a captain learning at something very new that I haven’t done before, and that’s exciting to get the chance to do that. It keeps things interesting, learning new experiences and going through that. I certainly feel like I’m improving day by day really getting the job and feeling more comfortable in the role as it goes on.

I think maybe as frustrating as the summer was in terms of result, I think I actually learned a lot through that period with the benefit of having a few months after to kind of reflect on things I probably would have done differently or what certain situations arose and how they made me feel and how I reacted to them. Yeah, I feel like I’m growing into the role day by day.

Q. I just wondered if the experience of the 2019 final and the kind of stresses on the field as much as off it, as well, kind of help you tomorrow especially if there’s a bit of weather around and it’s one of those days?

JOS BUTTLER: Yeah, I think any experiences that you can draw on, good or bad, you will have learned from those and reflect on those to be in situations of adversity or a bit of chaos. Those are all things that can happen, and in a World Cup final there’s a good chance of things like that happening, so the more experience you’ve got of being able to understand those feelings and how to react to them, I definitely see that as a benefit.

I think whether it’s that World Cup final or whether it’s different finals in franchise cricket or any of the experiences that we have as a group that we will draw on will be a benefit.

Certainly I think the weather is something we cannot control, and whatever does happen, we must be ready to go in whatever sort of sense that is. Obviously we’re all fingers crossed we just get a normal game of T20 cricket and it won’t be affected. But didn’t want us to waste energy today and tomorrow morning thinking about the weather.

Q. In 2015 we have seen a renaissance of English white ball cricket. Now we have, of course, Brendon is with you in red ball setup, now we have a different white ball setup. How important is having a setup for two forms of cricket, and do you see going forward more teams adapting to this trend of having two setups for white ball and red ball?

JOS BUTTLER: Yeah, I certainly see that as a possibility. I think the nature of the schedule of English cricket makes it near enough impossible for one man or woman to do the whole job. I think we play so much cricket and have so much traveling and time away, I think that’s sort of become untenable really to have one coach. Yeah, it’s certainly something I think other teams may look at. It seems to be working well so far for English cricket, and hopefully that will obviously continue.

I think even when sort of one person was in charge, you were sort of seeing them having to miss certain series or one of the assistants taking over for a little bit. Certainly in terms of the stability of the groups, I think it’s a real plus that we know exactly who our coaching staff is, who our head coach is, and they have full ownership over that team.

Q. How do you rate the Pakistan pace attack and the form that they have been in their run into this final? And also, we’re back at the site – I know you don’t want to dwell on the weather, but this is where that game was against Ireland, and it’s a similar forecast. Have you addressed the things that went wrong there in knowing there could be a similar situation tomorrow?

JOS BUTTLER: Yeah, obviously Pakistan are a fantastic team. I think they have a very long history of producing excellent fast bowlers, and I see the team that we’re up against as no different.

I’m sure by the end of their careers, some of the guys who we’ll play against will go down as some of the best bowlers Pakistan have produced. That’s a huge part of why they get to a World Cup final.

We expect a really tough challenge, as mentioned before. They’re a team we’ve seen lots of in the recent past, and we’ve had some brilliant matches against them, played in a fantastic spirit, and I’m sure tomorrow will be no different.

Obviously the Ireland match is a big disappointment for us as a team throughout this tournament, but certainly feels a long time ago now. Being able to sit in this position on the eve of the World Cup final, I think we will have learnt quite a few lessons throughout that game and actually the lead-up into the game. The weather around Melbourne sort of was dominating the whole tournament at that stage and was sort of definitely a distraction at times. But certainly the game we got into against them, we know the areas we were short. That definitely hurt us. I think we’ve seen a reaction to that game in the rest of the cricket we’ve played so far.

You can watch the full press conference here.

With inputs from AFP. Transcript courtesy: ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020 via Online Media Zone.