JOS BUTTLER says he has been dreaming about lifting a World Cup for almost 30 years.
England captain Buttler used to pretend to raise trophies when he was little more than a toddler playing cricket in his back garden.
Jos Buttler is desperate to turn his World Cup dream into reality
The England captain and his side face Pakistan in the Twenty20 World Cup final
Now he has the opportunity to turn his childhood fantasies into glorious, historic reality.
Buttler this morning leads the England team against Pakistan in the Twenty20 World Cup final at the vast Melbourne Cricket Ground.
If England win, they will unify the two whiteball World Cups following their triumph in the 50-over version at home in 2019.
Eoin Morgan was captain then and, although Buttler took his turn waving the trophy during England’s celebrations, this will be different. He will be the man hoisting the silverware in front of a global audience.
On the eve of the final, Buttler, 32, revealed: “I’ve certainly had a few dreams about that kind of thing, linking back to what you were like as a kid and the kind of things you’d do in the garden with your brother and sister and pretending to lift a trophy.
“Now to be able to have the opportunity actually to live out that kind of thing is incredibly special.
“I think it’s fine to think about those things and what it might feel like or what it would mean. I don’t feel like I need to block out or push away those feelings.
“The noise that comes with a World Cup finalis different. The room for this press conference is fuller than for any other game. You don’t need to say this game is no different. Of course it is.
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“But once you’ve accepted those things, it’s about focusing on what you know will serve us well as a team and what you need to do to play your best game of cricket.”
Buttler took over as white ball captain from Morgan last summer and, after a tricky start in which England failed to win any of his first four series in charge, he has been superb in the World Cup.
His batting remains devastating but it is his leadership – with astute bowling changes, calm authority and reliance more on gut feel than data – that has really impressed.
He might need to be on top of his game in the final with rain forecast and a possible reduction in overs or even the match spilling into the reverse day tomorrow.
The incredible pressure of the Super Over against New Zealand at Lord’s in 2019 – remember, Buttler was the man who safely gathered Jason Roy’s throw and broke the stumps to complete the winning run out – could prove an invaluable experience.
Buttler explained: “Any experiences you can draw on, good or bad, you will have learned from when you’re again in situations of adversity or a bit of chaos.
“In a World Cup final, there’s a good chance of things like that happening. So the more experience you have of understanding those feelings and reacting to them, I definitely see that as a benefit.
“Of course we’re still reaping the rewards of Eoin Morgan’s tenure and the changes in the whiteball game in England. But there’s a bit of a new direction as well.
“We can’t control the weather and there’s no point wasting energy now thinking about it. But we must be ready for anything.”
Mark Wood, the tournament’s fastest bowler, and Dawid Malan, England’s regular No.3, both practised at close to 100 per cent yesterday and are hopeful of being fit for the final after missing the ten-wicket win over India in the semi-final.