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England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler has revealed that he is determined to avenge his side’s loss in the final of the 2013 Champions Trophy.
Taking on India in a rain-affected final, Buttler was clean bowled by Ravindra Jadeja for a golden duck as England went on to lose the match by five runs.
With the ‘mini World Cup’ returning after a four-year absence next month, Buttler is keen to see his side go all the way, especially as they have never tasted Champions Trophy glory before.
“It’s a huge summer for English cricket, it’s great to have the Champions Trophy on home soil,” Buttler told ecb.co.uk. “I played in it the last time it was here too when we just missed out in the final, so I want to go one better this year.
“We have enjoyed playing in our own conditions over the last couple of years. There’s no room for slip-ups but we are confident in ourselves and that is our focus.”
England are currently in Spain for a training camp that precedes a three-match ODI series against South Africa.
For Buttler, who recently returned home from a six-week stint with the Mumbai Indians at the Indian Premier League (IPL), he believes the ODI series against the Proteas is the perfect way to prepare for the Champions Trophy.
“South Africa will be a really tough challenge straight before the tournament, which should really stand us in good stead in terms of our preparation,” he said. “They are a fantastic side in one-day cricket.
“When you look at the tournament, anyone could win it, especially with the compact format. We have been playing well and being in our own conditions potentially gives us an advantage, but it’s down to us to go and play well to take advantage of it.
“We are playing in some great venues. The Oval is one of my favourite places to play and we’ve played quite a few one-day matches in Cardiff in recent years. There’s a nice golf course on the way!
“We also have really good memories of Edgbaston because that’s the ground where we first really came together as a side against New Zealand when we scored 408 in 2015.”
However, England’s road to the semi-final, let alone the final, will be a tough one to say the least as they will take on Bangladesh, New Zealand and Australia in the group stage.
“It’s a tough group. We know about Bangladesh’s strengths having played there in the winter,” Buttler added. “They are a strong side, especially with the ball in their own conditions, but they are vastly improved and we have to be wary.
“New Zealand and Australia are top sides, we know all about them. It’s a tournament of high quality and to win it we have to beat the best teams in the world.”
Meanwhile, Buttler conceded that he relishes the stiff competition he faces from Sam Billings and Jonny Bairstow as they are also vying to be England’s go-to wicketkeeper in the 50-over format.
“There’s lots of competition for places in all departments – batting, bowling and keeping,” the 26-year-old said. “There’s great depth in the squad and it’s been good to see other players doing well while a few of us have been away at the IPL.
“I feel in good touch. It was nice to go to the IPL, to be in a completely different environment. I feel confident, I’ve been seeing the ball well and hitting it well, so I’m excited about the summer.”