Jos Buttler admitted his run of low scores has “gone on for a lot longer than I would have liked” after the England captain’s World Cup hangover continued in the Caribbean.
Buttler was out for three off 13 balls against the West Indies in Antigua, his fifth single-figure score in eight ODIs, while he has now gone 13 innings in this format without a fifty.
Number 11 batter Gus Atkinson was the only other England batter who did not reach double figures in the first of three ODIs, where the tourists set a target of 326 in their first match since the World Cup.
Speaking after the Windies overhauled England’s total with four wickets and seven balls to spare in an exciting crescendo, Buttler remains optimistic he can turn his fortunes around quickly.
“I feel good, I just keep managing to get out,” he said. “It’s disappointing, frustrating and gone on for a lot longer than I would have liked but there’s only myself who can score my own runs.
“I’m not going to score any if I hide away and don’t get out there. You keep working hard, you keep putting the effort in and trust that it will turn around.”
Buttler is widely-regarded as one of England’s greatest white-ball batters ever and his lean patch has coincided with his side’s listing fortunes – this was their seventh loss in 10 ODIs.
England are at the start of a new cycle and there were positives as openers Will Jacks and Phil Salt, neither of whom were selected for the World Cup group stage exit, put on 77 in 8.2 overs.
Harry Brook top-scored with 71 off 72 balls, Sam Curran and Brydon Carse put on 66 in 38 balls to lift England to 325 all out – the highest total in ODIs at this venue, a record that lasted a few hours.
Rehan Ahmed was the pick of the attack with two for 40 but Curran recorded the most expensive figures by an England bowler in an ODI as he leaked an eye-watering 98 in 9.5 overs.
Curran and Carse were unable to stop an onslaught from Windies captain Shai Hope and Romario Shepherd, who put on 89 in 51 balls to turn the tide after the hosts had slipped to 213 for five.
Hope clattered three sixes in four balls off Curran to end proceedings, finishing on 109 not out, while Shepherd crunched seven boundaries in his 28-ball stay before being dismissed two shy of fifty.
“There’s some young guys in that team who have not played loads and loads of one-day cricket, they’ll learn a lot from this,” Buttler said of a side that had five individuals with fewer than 10 ODI appearances.
“A lot of stuff we did really, really well; not well enough to win the game in the end but guys will be better for the experience, learn plenty from that and come back for the next one.
“I thought we played really well, I thought the two guys at the top set the tone really well. We were positive and aggressive and put the pressure on the West Indies at the start.
“We just didn’t quite close it out. There’s no need to panic, we’ve done a lot of things really well, there’s guys who have gained experience from this and we look forward to the next one (on Wednesday).”
The Windies are also at the outset of a new era, having failed to qualify for the World Cup, but it was Hope, a champion performer who reached 5,000 ODI runs in his knock, who was their star on Sunday.
“This definitely gives us confidence for the rest of the series,” Hope said. “We’ve got to make sure the guys believe they can win in any situation. It’s great we can start this way.”