Australia v England: Josh Buttler ‘100% fit’ to return

Limited-overs captain Buttler has not played for England since July
Meeting point: Optus Stadium, Perth Date: October 9 Year: 09:10 BST
Cover: Test match Ball-by-ball Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, the BBC Sport website & app. live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app;

England captain Josh Buttler says he is “100 per cent fit” to return after nearly two months out with a calf injury.

Buttler will lead England in the first of three Twenty20 internationals against Australia on Sunday as they complete their World Cup preparations.

The 32-year-old has not played since The Hundred and came on throughout England’s 4-3 win in Pakistan.

“The fitness is good,” Butler told BBC Sport. “I feel great and excited to be playing cricket again.”

England meet the hosts and defending T20 World Cup holders in Perth on Sunday (09:10 BST) before two matches in Canberra on Wednesday and Friday.

They then have another warm-up match against Pakistan – unlikely to be a full international – in Brisbane on October 17, before kicking off their World Cup campaign against Afghanistan in Perth on October 22.

Although Buttler is fit, England still have concerns over batsman Liam Livingstone, who has also been ruled out of The Hundred with an ankle injury and could miss the start of the tournament.

“He’s still a little ways off right now, so he’s building back,” Butler said. “Hopefully he will be back to full fitness before the World Cup starts.”

Livingstone is one of three players who have been involved in England since the Pakistan tour, along with pace bowler Chris Jordan and all-rounder Ben Stokes.

Test captain Stokes is set to play his first T20 international since March 2021, likely batting at number four.

“Ben is someone we want to try and give as many opportunities as possible to impact the game,” Butler said.

“We want to get him as high as we can, give him as much responsibility as possible and allow him to play his way to get the best out of him.”

Buttler’s return to the top of the order means England will have to make a choice between Phil Salt and Alex Hales, who opened together in all but one of the matches in Pakistan.

“They’re both fantastic options, with different styles,” Butler said. I’ll have a good chat with the coach [Matthew Mott] and decide which is the best option.”

Australia changed their team, having just completed 2-0 series win over West Indies on the opposite side of the country in Brisbane on Friday.

Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa have been rested.

Batter Tim David made 42 off 20 balls in Friday’s win in his fifth match for Australia.

David, 26, had played 14 previous internationals for Singapore, the country of his birth, and built his reputation through a string of impressive performances at franchise tournaments around the world.

“Now he’s in our team and our set-up, it’s a godsend,” said champion David Warner.

“He’s an incredible player. He’s got some serious power, so he strengthens our middle order, and to come out and play like that and with his height and his strength suits us, that’s for sure.”

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