“If Buttler manages to cut loose, it will not only break the shackles but also put the opposition on the back foot from the outset. Buttler at the top is a tempting idea, but the possibility is always there”….
With the Test series between England and Pakistan being around the corner, the hosts have announced their 12-man squad for the series opener at Lord’s. England made few surprising selections; Jos Buttler has been drafted into the side for Lord’s test and the move has left many bewildered as he became the first English Test player in history to have earned a spot on the back of his incredible Twenty20 form. But one shouldn’t forget, he has also been in an outstanding form in the ongoing Indian Premier League and one wouldn’t be wrong in saying that no cricketer from his country has batted in that manner.
Butler is indubitably one of the best batsmen in world cricket when it comes to shorter formats. His run for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL has been magnificent. His willow has been spilling fire in the format of uncertainties and have won games single-handedly for Rajasthan Royals. He is a match-winner and an X-factor when it comes to white ball cricket.
Buttler’s selection for the opening Test has left many surprised as Buttler has only featured in eight First-Class games since the start of 2016. Also, he has only represented England in 18 Tests, where he averages 31.36. The last time Buttler played for England was way back in 2016 against India. He was not considered for the Ashes and the tour to New Zealand, but selectors have once again shown immense faith in his abilities and scintillating form.
In an England and Wales Cricket Board statement, Ed Smith said, “Jos Buttler is an outstanding talent, who is already a central part of England’s white ball teams. The selection panel feels that this is the perfect moment to reintroduce Jos to Test cricket, where he has already enjoyed some success, including a stint playing as a specialist batsman at number seven. Jos is playing with great confidence and flair, and he will bring unique qualities to the Test team.”
Buttler is an aggressive batsman, who likes to take on the bowlers right from the outset. His form in the IPL was a good example of controlled aggression. He was belligerent in his approach, but calculated as well. With this kind of approach and form, Buttler could be a force to be reckoned at six or seven. He can garner quick runs and put pressure on the opposition, just how Adam Gilchrist famously did for Australia throughout his career in whites.
Buttler has been one of the vital cogs in England’s limited overs format, and there is absolutely no reason why he cannot do the same against the red cherry. He has the potential and ability to excel in the longest format of the game. His manic approach can help him earn fruitful dividends, his potential is limitless.
Buttler has played just 18 Tests for England and has not tasted some success in this period, but his numbers clearly do not reflect the kind of talent he has. He embraced Test cricket on a high against India in Southampton, but didn’t really manage to cement his spot in the line-up. This is a golden chance for Buttler and by looking at his form, he should grab it with both the hands and further make his presence unavoidable in the upcoming future.
Another interesting aspect that England can ponder is the opening slot. Earlier, England’s predicament was to find an opening co-star for Alastair Cook, but the latter’s parched runs column has only added to their trouble. For a while now, England have struggled to find a reliable, consistent and firing opening pair.
Butler is well capable of opening the batting, he has done it in shorter formats and can do it at the top as well. Belligerence has found success at the top; Virender Sehwag did it for India while David Warner continues to do so for Australia. If Buttler manages to cut loose, it will not only break the shackles, but also put the opposition on the back foot from the outset. Buttler at the top is a tempting idea, but the possibility is always there. As of now, all eyes are set on the opening Test at Lord’s, it will be interesting to see if Buttler manages to revive his Test career or not?