|| AFP ||
Jos Buttler used to fantasise about captaining England to cricketing glory when he played with his siblings in their garden as a child. Now the dream is on the cusp of coming true.
The dynamic wicketkeeper-batsman will lead England in the Twenty20 World Cup final on Sunday against Pakistan in Melbourne in his first major tournament since succeeding Eoin Morgan as white-ball skipper.
"I've certainly had a few dreams about that kind of thing," said the 32-year-old on Saturday.
"Of course I think it really links back to what you were like as a kid, the kind of things you would be doing in the garden with your brother and sister, pretending to lift a trophy.
"And now to be able to have the opportunity, to have a chance, to live that kind of thing out is incredibly special."
As he prepares for his biggest day as a captain, Buttler admitted those childhood memories had come flooding back.
"I think it's fine to sort of think about those things and what it might feel like or what it would mean," he said of potentially being a World Cup-winning captain.
"They're certainly feelings I don't feel like I need to try and block out or push away.
"You almost accept those kind of things as like accepting the noise that comes with a World Cup final, accepting that it feels a little bit different.
"But once you've accepted those things, it's about focusing on the things that you know will serve us well as a group and as a team, as an individual what you need to do to prepare to play your best game of cricket tomorrow."
Buttler's appointment as skipper in July came just days after Morgan announced his retirement from international cricket.
Morgan oversaw England's white-ball revival following their embarrassing first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup.
Buttler, who was Morgan's vice-captain, says he feels like he is leading another new era after Morgan's retirement.
"Hopefully I've got more time ahead myself as a captain and with (coach) Matthew Mott we can hopefully shape the next era of English white-ball cricket," he said.
"Of course we're still reaping the rewards of Eoin Morgan's tenureship and the changes that have happened in the white-ball game in England, and that's clear to see in the strength and depth of the talent we now have in the white-ball game in England.
"We're very much right in the back of that wave, of course, but there's a bit of a new direction as well."