‘We have to treat it with the same respect’ – Nasser Hussain criticises England for not flying in an extra batter for Bangladesh T20Is
Nasser Hussain has criticised England’s batting balance after a second consecutive T20I loss to Bangladesh, questioning their ploy to go with a batting-light line-up during their series defeat.
Bangladesh chased down England’s totals twice across three days; their first win was more comfortable, hunting down 157 with two overs to spare. There was a stutter or two in the second game, but England’s total of 117 just wasn’t enough.
It led to a 2-0 loss for the visitors in their first-ever bilateral series defeat against Bangladesh, with one game still to go.
Speaking to Sky Cricket after Jos Buttler and team conceded the series, Hussain questioned England’s strategy to go in with a weakened batting line-up. With Will Jacks injuring himself in the ODI leg, England opted not to bring in reinforcements. For the second T20I in Mirpur, Jos Buttler pushed himself down the order, batting as a non-opener in T20Is for the first time since 2018.
“They ended up, again, 20 runs short. I thought the bowlers and fielders did really well, I think where they lost the game again was the batting. In the last game, they didn’t knock it around enough and realised with the par score 20 more would have won it. With the bat today, because they lack depth… I’d love an explanation why Jos moves down to the middle order,” Hussain said.
“I never like changing your strength to combat your weakness. That means taking away your strength and you don’t necessarily improve your weakness, as they didn’t today. So keep your strength, and get ahead of the curve. Let other people do their job. I would have been, as an opposition captain, if I had seen Buttler sitting on the sidelines, I am like: ‘That’s great, keep him there’.”
England have had a busy winter, with six tours across five countries, and have a bumper summer coming up, including an Ashes series. This series is seen as the least important of the lot, coming after the T20 World Cup. Hussain, however, said that it was not “good enough” to say that the side couldn’t call up an extra batter to the squad, given the depth of options available.
“The selectors have a difficult juggling act. They’ve got one of the great series coming up in the Ashes. So, they are trying to rest their Test match players.
“They’ve got white-ball players playing Test match cricket. They’ve got lads that are injured. They’ve got the county season starting soon.
“But we’ve got 18 counties, if we can’t put an extra batter or two on the ground in Bangladesh if it means flying (Ollie) Pope [currently an expert for Sky] or [Zak] Crawley, who I think will be a good white-ball cricketer, I don’t think it’s good enough to say we are one batter short.
“We are the England cricket team, it’s an important tour. We saw what it meant to Bangladesh, and we have to treat it with the same respect. They didn’t have the right balance of squad.”