County news July 17, 2013

Buttler mulls over Somerset future

ESPNcricinfo staff

Jos Buttler, the England one-day wicketkeeper, will give fresh consideration to leaving Somerset when his contract expires at the end of the season after being replaced behind the stumps by Craig Kieswetter in the Friends Life t20.

Buttler, 22, was offered a new contract at Taunton but delayed signing new terms until it became apparent how much time he would be given with the gloves. He found himself in the outfield again against Northants on Wednesday night and is now bound to take further soundings over a potential move to secure a place as a No. 1 wicketkeeper.

Dave Nosworthy accepted the difficult situation in comments to the Bristol Post "We want him to stay, we have chatted to him and he has got to make a decision," he said. "Jos is a Somerset lad and we would hate to lose him - but he has to do what's best for his career, and we find ourselves in an unbelievable situation.

"It really is like having Gilchrist and Boucher in the same squad - what do you do? Craig is a top keeper and people tend to forget he has played for England very recently. Jos, similarly, is a top keeper and is just getting his opportunities at international level now. They are equally good fielders and they are equally good batters."

Buttler has been highly praised for his hitting ability during his 14 ODIs and 23 T20 internationals but his wicketkeeping is regarded as a work in progress and Somerset face an extremely difficult decision about how best to handle the impasse for the benefit of the club.

Somerset chief executive, Guy Lavender, has stated that the club "will do everything in its power to see that Jos' best interests are met" but Somerset now face a difficult decision about how much they can promise Buttler, who may miss large chunks of the season with England's one-day side, without compromising their selection policy or the overall strength of their squad.

"No assurances have been given to Jos that he would be keeping wicket in all one-day cricket," Lavender said. "What we have committed to do is to make sure that Jos has good opportunities to keep in order to prepare for Team England duties. It is patently ridiculous to guarantee any player a place in the starting line-up for an entire season - that has to be based on performance and what is in the best interests of the team."

Born and raised in Taunton, Buttler is keen to stay at Somerset but his county's decision to reinstate Kieswetter could force his hand. Buttler sought assurances that he would keep wicket in both one-day competitions this season, but found himself in the outfield for Somerset's Friends Life t20 match against Northants in Northampton on Wednesday night.

Somerset were initially spared a difficult decision by Kieswetter's broken thumb that kept him out for two months from the end of April. On his return, Buttler was with England's one-day squad. The pair were available together for the start of the Friends Life t20 and Buttler kept wicket against Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire.

Kieswetter returned for Somerset on June 14 but to further complicate matters Alex Barrow kept wicket for the next four matches. On July 12, Buttler was told that Kieswetter would resume as wicketkeeper against Glamorgan with his thumb fully recovered.

Lavender also expressed the view that Somerset had a responsibility to all the wicketkeepers on their books and described the sharing arrangement as "workable".

Buttler is certain to discuss the latest developments with England's one-day coach, Ashley Giles, and his agent, the former England batsman Neil Fairbrother, before deciding on his future.

Somerset are yet to receive a formal approach for Buttler and are keen for him to stay in the West Country, but informal approaches have a way of queuing up long before the end of a county season.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Simon on July 18, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    I genuinely hope this is someone adding 2 and 2 making 5. I think the journo who wrote it has got a lot to answer for. Buttler is unlikely to want to leave, but is very ambitious. Unfortunately it coincides with Somersets whirlwind period (over the last 5 years) finally dipping off. Off topic I think we have neglected our bowling side, I dont think this is Nosworthys fault, we havent got a proper bowling coach, we've got great youngsters who have performed well but arent now anywhere to be seen (Dibble, Gregory, C Overton). Trego patched over it last year with his haul, and the thre of the old guard are still steaming in, but whilst we have gone for the marginal improvements of having international batsman i.e. Peterson, we have missed the opportunity to have the big improvements of a top class seamer. We need to be more bowler friendly if bowlers are to come to us. I hate to say it but if Buttler leaves it will be the end of the great 'Silver' period in our history. Lets hope not.

  • Mark on July 18, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    He should go to Kent, and get coaching / assistance from Darren Stevens in how to construct an innings while still hitting the ball very, very hard.

  • Mark on July 18, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    @irishwolfhound: I think the point is they have to pick between two very high quality keepers and the two mentioned are a perfect similie as they are household names and two of the great. No-one is comparing their ability to them.

    I'd be very annoyed if Jos left Somerset. Judging by the comments made by SCCC, I doubt he will though, I think this is media overhype (again).

    It is a tough situation and we obviously want to see them both stay, but I would hate to see him play for another county, hate it. Kieswetter is (I think underrated) a huge talent for us too and a much better FC player, so I want him to stay too.

  • Android on July 18, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    If Bairstow carries on in the test team he will soon replace matt prior when he retires unless someone spectacular turns up. Jos Butler is the only wk option for the limited overs side. Its a easy option. He is excellent with the bat and needs to keep more to confirm that place. He needs to move to get first option as wk. Come Middlesex (probably wont but its worth a try hes a talent)

  • Jason on July 18, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    A move might be the best decision for the future of his career as it will give him more time behind the stumps and with Prior having 5-6 years left at international level Buttler along with Bairstow could be seen as the next in line for Priors job.

    Hence the more experience Buttler can get keeping, and playing in the longer format the better position he will be in.

  • John on July 18, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    @mikkeyT on (July 17, 2013, 18:42 GMT) If you're going by what he's done for England then you're right but even then his SR is phenomenal. His record/performances for Somerset are/have been superb in shorter formats. He's probably seen as a bit part/luxury player by England but is crucial to Somerset if we're ever going to win anything limited overs wise

    @Paul Rone-Clarke on (July 17, 2013, 20:31 GMT) Love your post there lol

  • John on July 18, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    @Paul Rone-Clarke on (July 17, 2013, 20:31 GMT), the only reason that Buttler would leave Somerset is to keep wicket so, wherever he goes, I think that he'll be looking for some sort of assurance regarding being the #1 keeper. Of course, his form will have to justify hie remaining so but if he's not going to be first choice elsewhere then he may as well just stay with Somerset.

  • John on July 18, 2013, 2:42 GMT

    This is a tough one for everyone I think. Obviously England think that Buttler is their best option as a keeper/batsman for the shorter formats so you can understand why they want him to get as much time behind the stumps as possible. Somerset obviously want to retain the service of both Buttler and Kieswetter and also want to have their best man behind the stumps. Buttler and Kieswetter both want to spend as much time behind the stumps as possible because that is the best chance for each to get selected for England. If Buttler does decide to move elsewhere, which would be a shame but completely understandable, it's a difficult for other counties too because it's obvious that the main motivation is to play for England, which means less time playing for his new county. I guess the upside for a county is that he's not likely to play Test cricket so they would still have him available for much of the CC.

  • Robert on July 17, 2013, 23:36 GMT

    As a Somerset member, this news does not surprise or disappoint me. Buttler is no way near and never will be the standard of batsman or keeper that Kieswetter is. In my opinion Buttler will never play test match cricket (as some 'experts' think) and will indeed struggle to carve out a first class career, due to the fact that he cannot construct an innings, he will play a couple nice shots for 4 and then get out playing a stupid shot, you cannot rely on him in first class cricket in fact he is like a walking wicket.

    Just because Buttler has one good knock in 10 which happens to be on TV he gets hugely built up but he is completely overrated and inconsistent as a batsmen, with just one Championship score of over 100 in 2 years. And he is not even the second but the third best keeper at the club behind Kiewswetter and Barrow. Notts is the most likely destination for him from what I have heard.