Buttler has played in 74 T20s for England, averaging 29.26 at a strike rate of 140.36

England limited-overs vice-captain Jos Buttler says India are favourites for this year’s Twenty20 World Cup.

The two sides meet in the first of a five-match T20 series in Ahmedabad on Friday.

India – who won the T20 World Cup in 2007 – will host the tournament in October and November.

“Previous World Cups have shown that host nations tend to perform very well and India are of course phenomenally strong in every format,” Buttler said.

“It’s great exposure for us to play against one of the best teams in the tournament in these conditions,” the 30-year-old added.

“And it’s a huge benefit to us playing in Ahmedabad, a brand new stadium which will play a big part in the World Cup.”

The wicketkeeper-batsman played in England’s win over India in the first Test last month but was rested for the remainder of the 3-1 series loss.

He says “he feels good for the rest” and supports England’s policy of squad rotation during the winter tours to Sri Lanka and India.

“I’ve spent a long time in the bubbles over the past year or so since the pandemic started,” he said.

“It’s been talked about how we can best look after players and what is an incredibly packed schedule at the moment.”

‘Playing in IPL hugely beneficial to England’

The T20 series will be followed by three one-day-internationals later this month, before Buttler links up with the Rajasthan Royals for this year’s Indian Premier League.

Buttler will be joined by international team-mates Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer in the Royals squad, with the T20 franchise tournament starting 9 April.

There are 13 England players taking part in the competition, although bowler Mark Wood pulled out of the auction last month to spend more time with his family.

Buttler says he considered the possibility of missing a part of the competition, but sees the IPL as “hugely beneficial” to both him individually and the England side.

“It’s been obvious in the upturns in the results for England’s white-ball team and how beneficial the IPL is to all of us. So it makes it a tough decision,” he said.

“There are obvious benefits; player improvement, the skills you learn and the experiences you gain. Especially at the moment with the IPL being played in India where the T20 World Cup is being played.”

With the IPL final scheduled for 30 May, Buttler could miss England’s first Test in a two-match series against New Zealand this summer, which begins at Lord’s on 2 June.

“It’s always going to bitter sweet if you’re missing games for England or whatever opportunities you’re missing,” Buttler said.

“We don’t know how far players are going to get in that tournament and if you’re going to miss the Test so we’ll wait and see.”