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England skipper Jos Buttler hopes ‘poor’ Dharamsala surface doesn’t cause injuries

England's captain Jos Buttler takes part in a practice session at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala

England captain Jos Buttler hopes no players from either side injure themselves on the poor surface in Dharamsala in their Cricket World Cup match against Bangladesh on Tuesday. Picture: Arun Sankar/AFP)

Published Oct 9, 2023


England captain Jos Buttler has his "fingers crossed" that players avoid serious injury in their Cricket World Cup clash against Bangladesh on a Dharamsala surface he described as “poor".

The notoriously sandy and bare outfield at the picturesque Himalayan ground has already come under fire at the tournament.

Afghanistan coach Jonathan Trott claimed Mujeeb Ur Rehman could have suffered a serious injury when his knee jarred in the ground as he dived while fielding in Saturday's loss to Bangladesh.

"It's poor in my opinion," said Buttler on Monday.

‘Goes against everything’

"I think any time you're sort of talking about being careful diving when you're fielding, it goes against everything you want to be as a team.

"We won't use it as an excuse, we'll adapt to it. But if you feel like you're having to hold yourself back, it's not a place you want to be as a team or player, or in a World Cup match.”

The International Cricket Council (ICC) inspected the surface at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in the aftermath of Saturday's game.

They deemed it "average" but playable.

"Fingers crossed that no one on either side picks up an unfortunate injury," added Buttler ahead of Tuesday's game.

In February this year, the third Test match between India and Australia was moved away from Dharamsala because of concerns over the venue.

Buttler added that star player Ben Stokes will still not be available for Tuesday as he recovers from a hip injury.

Stokes missed the defending champions' opening nine-wicket thumping at the hands of New Zealand in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

Field had no influence on Stokes decision

However, Buttler insisted that the condition of the playing surface at the Dharamsala ground played no part in the decision to keep Stokes on the sidelines.

"It's good to see him back in the nets and building back towards full fitness but probably he's unlikely for tomorrow," he said.

Bangladesh spin bowling coach Rangana Herath said his team will be encouraged not to think about the potential pitfalls of the surface.

"We are not going to restrict anything because if you ask someone to restrict something, in that case they don't give their 100%," the former Sri Lanka player said.

"They did well in the previous game, so we are asking give their best even in the outfield as well."

Bangladesh defeated Afghanistan by six wickets in their tournament opener, easily chasing down a target of 157 with 15 overs to spare.

Spinners Shakib Al Hasan and man of the match Mehidy Hasan Miraz took six of the wickets to fall.

With both sides still having eight group games to play in the marathon tournament, Buttler insists there is plenty of opportunity to bounce back.

"Both teams have only played one match, so we're very confident as a team," said Buttler.

"We know we can play better than we did in the last game and we look forward to putting in a good performance tomorrow."