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Ex-captain Morgan believes Buttler can inspire World Cup defence
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Adam Drury
Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler celebrate winning the World Cup in 2019

Former England captain Eoin Morgan believes opponents will fear Jos Buttler more than any other batter at the Cricket World Cup.

Buttler inherited the white-ball leadership in the summer of 2022 and is fifth on the country's list of all-time ODI run-scorers, which Morgan tops.

Only 11 players have ever hit more sixes than the 33-year-old in the format — and his ex-skipper believes he is a class apart.

Speaking exclusively to LiveScore, Morgan said: "The one thing I always noticed as captain was that when you asked bowlers who they least enjoyed bowling to, it was always Jos.

"He doesn't stop after hitting a couple of sixes in an over — he could hit you for five or six. 

"It's all at his tempo, he takes control, and very few players have the ability to do that.

"He is the best trainer in the team and it's that mentality that makes him one of the best white-ball players in the world."

In the balance

Harry Brook's last-gasp inclusion in England's squad offers them flexibility in their middle-order but Morgan generally expects the Yorkshire batter to be sidelined.

Instead, he anticipates that the current champions will rotate between their all-rounders to provide depth with bat and ball.

The 2019 World Cup-winning skipper said: "Brook was always vying to be spare batter.

"Providing everybody is fit, I can only see the balance of the team changing at No7.

"Ben Stokes isn't bowling so you need options. There are some grounds in India where the ball will fly through and swing around and you will want that fourth seamer.

"On other occasions, you will want that second spinner, which brings someone like Liam Livingstone into it."

Harry Brook is in England's World Cup squad
Harry Brook is in England's World Cup squad

Vivid memories

England arrive in India as defending champions after Morgan led them to glory on home soil in 2019.

The final against New Zealand — decided by the boundary countback rule after a tied Super Over — was arguably the greatest international match of all time and Morgan says he relives details of that career-defining afternoon to this day.

He said: "I still remember it vividly. It was a special moment, a dream.

"Watching the run chase on the balcony was by miles the worst part because you were paralysed when it comes to control.

"People ask what it was like walking out for the Super Over but that was much easier because you could impart something and influence it. 

"We had trained and practiced for that moment."

Emotional experience

England won the T20 World Cup in 2022
England won the T20 World Cup in 2022

Morgan has learnt to enjoy cricket as a fan again since retirement.

His successor Buttler inspired victory in the T20 World Cup last November and the former skipper says watching from afar was a very different experience.

He said: "I was going through things I did as a kid, riding every emotion, following all the news.

"You're quite sheltered as a player because you focus on your own job. It made the T20 win even more special."

But as he prepares to form part of Sky Sports' punditry team for the competition, Morgan believes that England's hopes of defending the 50-over title could be scuppered by the host nation.

He said: "India are favourites, without doubt.

"I think they're just a really strong outfit that have all areas covered — and they're a completely different animal when it comes to playing at home."

The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup is available on Sky Sports and NOW from October 5.

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