Jos Buttler simply must open the batting if England want to target 500 in an ODI insists former international Monty Panesar.
Eoin Morgan’s side have set the world alight when it comes to 50-over batting with 400-plus scores aplenty, and hold the world record thanks to the 481-6 they made against Australia last June.
'Project 500' is therefore in sight and could be broken in this summer’s World Cup, where England will play at least nine games in a revamped, one-group format.
But Panesar believes a new approach is needed if England are to reach even greater heights, notably breaking up an opening partnership between Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow that has thus far flourished.
“I can’t see England ever getting 500 – if it was to ever happen, it would need Jos Buttler to be opening the batting,” said the 37-year-old on the latest leg of the ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy Tour, driven by Nissan.
“England’s line-up allows acceleration at a certain moment but if they want 500, Buttler has to be up there – their top six batters need to be up there with the likes of AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli.
“You have to have three or four batsmen like that playing in the same team, and I can’t see that happening. 500 is way off for me.
“If you have Jos up there, to hit the target he needs to be batting for at least 25 or 30 overs, scoring 180 from 90 balls if not more – it’s nothing different to the innings he played against Pakistan at Southampton (110 not out from 55 balls), just with more time to be able to do it.
“If any team wants to get to 500, someone like a David Warner or Kohli needs to score more than 150 runs at a strike rate of 200, then you’ll get an opportunity.
“Teams are very smart now, bowling units are developing their own strategies in how to counteract it – I’m a bowler and 50-over cricket can’t just be a batsman’s game.”
Panesar played 26 ODIs for England with 24 wickets to his name, earning the nod for the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.
Twelve years on and the limited overs game is almost unrecognisable to the one that held the spinner’s focus.
Indeed England have gone from being the forgotten guest of the format to the centre of attention, and are 2/1 favourites for World Cup glory as the top-ranked side.
But they still need to show they can keep their cool when the competition heats up in the eyes of Panesar.
“England seem to be ahead of everyone else in the way they execute run chases,” he added.
“There’s an attacking brand in this team, that’s how they’re going to look to play and they know how to put pressure on a team when they’re on top.
“England don’t mind if teams are getting to 350 because they’re confident that they can chase it down.
“Even four or five years ago, that was a formidable target but England are doing that with ease. For other teams to be able to do that in England, that’s where the real challenge is going to be.
“Big tournaments are an art in themselves because it’s a long competition, you can’t peak too early.
“You have teams like Pakistan who don’t do very well in individual series but then they went to the Champions Trophy and they won it.
“They’re a dangerous team, in the World Cup they’re going to be there and they’re going to thrive off that energy, they love the buzz and their performances will go up 25, 30 per cent because of that.”
- ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy Tour, driven by Nissan, commences 100-day tour of England and Wales and will be at over 100 locations and events before arriving back in London ready for the opening match on May 30