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England arrived in the Caribbean just a few weeks after a chastening World Cup campaign in India, armed with a number of fringe contenders eager to lay down a marker for the next four-year cycle.
A four-wicket defeat in the series decider in Barbados – after the teams won one game each in Antigua – was not how England captain Buttler wanted the post-World Cup reset to get underway.
However, he sees the bigger picture and believes everyone will be much better for how the last week has unfolded.
“There’s been some good performances throughout the way,” said Buttler. “We’re obviously disappointed to lose the series. The guys will be better for this one.
“The series is the start of a new journey for this team. You can’t get experience if you don’t give people experience to play and be in those situations.
“It’s a very young side barring myself in terms of experience in the number of caps, so guys will have taken a lot from this and learned a lot. We have given them exposure and given them opportunity.
“There is a hell of a lot of talent and depth and guys will get better and better. I’m looking forward. Times change, things move on and it’s very important to look forward.”
England lost what seemed a crucial toss and lurched to 49-5 on a tricky pitch with unpredictable bounce although Buttler gave his wicket away with an ill-judged hook to depart for a golden duck.
Ben Duckett’s classy 71 off 73 balls led a revival and he shared an 88-run stand with Liam Livingstone, who contributed 45 to England’s 206-9 in 40 overs – reduced because of rain interruptions.
Another downpour left the Windies with a Duckworth-Lewis-Stern adjusted target of 188 in 34 overs, where they lurched from 99-2 to 135-6 after Will Jacks’ unlikely three wicket-haul.
The big-hitting all-rounder took his tally of ODI wickets from one to four in his seventh match but when he and Rehan Ahmed had bowled their allotted overs, Buttler returned to paceman Gus Atkinson.
Having taken two wickets earlier, Atkinson perhaps struggled in the evening dew and a tense finish, in which the Windies needed 33 in the last four overs, dissipated as he conceded 24 in six balls.
Romario Shepherd’s belligerent 41 not out off 28 balls got the Windies over the line with 14 deliveries to spare as they celebrated their first home series win over England in ODIs since 1998.
“It’s always going to be tough for the death bowlers here with how wet it is and the short boundary with the wind,” Buttler said. “But that’s where you give people the exposure to it.
“We were always going to be a little bit short, I think. But we showed some great fight with the ball – Will Jacks had an outstanding spell, which was a real positive.
“He’s a great asset to a team the way he bats at the top, getting us off to a flyer and bowling seven overs is going to be huge for him in his development as a player and what he can offer to the side.”
This was England’s last ODI assignment until September – they now turn their attentions to a five-match T20 series which acts as pivotal preparation for the 2024 World Cup in the Caribbean and United States.
“The schedules of cricket are quite challenging,” Buttler added. “There’s a long time now until there’s any more ODI cricket but lots to look forward to in the T20 format.
“Obviously, there’s a World Cup out here in six months or so – so five T20s will be good fun and a nice run for that.”