Buttler mulls over Somerset future
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.