India in England 2014 July 25, 2014

Hope springs eternal in Buttler

Jos Buttler's Test debut comes with England reeling from their worst run in 20 years. England's most original player for years carries hope of brighter times
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Highlights: Buttler hits England's fastest ODI century on May 31 against Sri Lanka

Was Jos Buttler aware of all the hope he was carrying? The question made it sound like an awesome responsibility. It did not just sound like run-of-the-mill hope. It was made to sound like hope, the sort of hope that must have been around when Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, the Americans landed on the moon, or Elvis sang That's All Right Mama. It sounded like the hope lavished on Mandela, Obama, or on Margaret Thatcher in the Home Counties of England in 1979.

One minute you are telling the world that you are not yet ready for Test cricket, and the world, by and large, is nodding wisely in agreement, the next minute this hope thing pops up its head and you are preparing for a Test debut against India at the Ageas Bowl at a time when English cricket is full of yearning.

This is not an ordinary Test debut. It is a debut when England have not won in 10 Tests, their worst run for 20 years, the sort that England said they would never witness again by building structures, making plans, centralising every decision they could think of.

It is also a Test debut by England's most original player for years and - dare it be said - by a player who ended May with a dashing century to soften an ODI defeat against Sri Lanka and then pronounced with characteristically soft-spoken modesty: "I'm probably not ready for Test cricket - that is my honest opinion and it's the opinion of others." There is nothing quite as interesting as a great-yet-vulnerable sporting talent and, at the Ageas Bowl, Buttler will be precisely that.

After that Lord's hundred, he spoke of limited glovework and a first-class average of 32 and remarked: "If I wasn't playing one-day cricket I would not be at the forefront of anyone's mind with that average in first-class cricket." Instead, he wanted to turn himself into a Test cricketer as quickly as he could.

Less than two months later, here he is. He has not changed in the interim. At least if he has, Lancashire forgot to issue a press release. What has changed is that England have been forced to accept that their gamble on Matt Prior's fitness has failed. Prior has stood down for the summer. Buttler steps in. Your time comes when it comes. Get on with it.

So now Buttler naturally has to make light of those deficiencies he summed up so honestly at Lord's. "Mentally I've come round to the fact I was closer than perhaps I thought I was at the time and my cricket has progressed faster than I thought," he said. "I was well aware I had just scored a hundred and it would have been easy to say I'm playing really well and I'm ready.

"Test cricket's going to be completely different but this year in the Championship I've been scoring more runs and everything's been going better so I think it's just more of a mental thing. In the weeks since then I've realised I was closer to playing than I thought I was.

"Test cricket's been my ultimate goal for the whole of my career, it's probably come a little bit sooner than I thought it would, which is great."

It was a neatly put. Identical situations can look different if viewed from a different angle, or with a different mindset. And anyway when Buttler played down that Lord's one-day century with such humility, others said even then that England should ignore him.

Derek Pringle in the Daily Telegraph was one, writing that he was "one of those quiet sportsmen who remains a devoted advocate of deed over word. But just as England's selectors should ignore the self-publicists who trumpet their cause, they should also discount Buttler's coy self-analysis."

It was at Trent Bridge, in the first Test against India, when Buttler realised that a Test debut was approaching. He was called up as cover for Prior and would not have been able to miss the work of the medical team and the tribulations and the insecurities of the player himself - Alastair Cook's valued sergeant major - as he tried to force his battered body through the summer.

It would be nice to think that Prior, for all the complex dynamics of a dressing room, found time to say: "Look, I might get through the summer - get yourself prepared." But if he did not say it, Buttler would have seen it in his eyes.

"I saw him at Trent Bridge," Buttler said. "I went there as cover for his injury and it was actually really good to have a chat with him and try and pick his brain during that practice session. I think I knew then I was a bit closer potentially than I thought I was and I had to come round and mentally prepare to play if that chance came during the summer. I think that's helped me in my preparation for this game.

"It's quite a big confidence builder as well to get called up for a squad. It's a feelgood thing to know you're so close and the chance of playing Test cricket for England is a great motivator as well. So it was that time when I thought I was probably on the verge of something."

Nobody should pretend the situation is perfect. In pure wicketkeeping terms, Prior's physical collapse has come too soon for Buttler in Test cricket. A Test debut in the West Indies next year would have been an easier ask. Buttler, in his own words, is "a work in progress" or "not the finished article". He has several stock phrases to act as longstop.

Those wicketkeeping shortcomings have been just as apparent in one-day cricket. He fulfils the role as best he can and occasional lapses are forgiven in the belief that the graph is moving upwards.

When Kevin Pietersen played for England people were excited to watch him because he was always looking to score runs, David Warner has obviously done that role for Australia very successfully. It would be silly of me to go into my shell completely
Jos Buttler on not changing too much

And Buttler, more than anyone, is a player who can produce the excitement to move England on - or, more accurately many England cricket followers - from the Kevin Pietersen debacle. He has proved in the past two seasons, for both Somerset and Lancashire, that he can adapt his game to the longer format, but he is not about to be cowed. Nobody wants him to be. England need his vibrancy, his originality, his sense of adventure. As far as his batting is concerned, hope will not let go.

"Naturally I want to score runs and hit the ball and I don't think things should change that much," he said. "Obviously I have got to be a bit more selective and work out a method to bat longer periods of time so I can put a few shots away that I might not need to play in Test cricket.

"But If you look around the world there are people who play in that aggressive manner and do well. When Kevin Pietersen played for England people were excited to watch him because he was always looking to score runs, David Warner has obviously done that role for Australia very successfully. It would be silly of me to go into my shell completely and curb all my natural instincts because at the end of the day that is what has got me to where I have got to."

Pietersen without the strut; Warner without the pugilistic tendencies. Talent with modesty. Now that really would be something.

As for wicketkeeping, he has taken sustenance from Prior but his idol has been Adam Gilchrist. He does not remember much about Prior's hundred on Test debut, but he finds strength in the knowledge that his keeping was questioned for a while, to the extent that he was dropped, and that he fought back to prove himself an indispensable part of the England side, one of England's best wicketkeeper-batsmen.

"People questioned his glovework but he become England's best wicketkeeper-batsman. For me to know that I know someone who was that good for England was not the finished article either gives me a bit of confidence. He is 32 now and how many years he has been England's best wicketkeeper? I am 23 and have still got that time to improve my game and get to a level he got to."

But it is the standards set by an Australian that are treasured by any young England wicketkeeper. "Adam Gilchrist changed the game for wicketkeepers to start with. If you look round the world, batsman-wicketkeeper has to go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other.

"I remember him a lot, growing up, when Australia were the strongest side in the world by a long way - and he was a massive part of that. Being a young batsman-wicketkeeper, he was an ideal man to be your hero growing up and to try to copy. If I could emulate him, that would be outstanding. He's obviously set the benchmark very high for everyone."

It's a huge expectation. It is not his expectation - he is just a sportsman with an honest ambition. If it is the expectation of England, an England that is so downtrodden by recent results, it dare not hope too loudly. Officially, the hope is at the levels once expressed by Disraeli: hope for the best, steel yourself for the worst.

Don't you believe it.

England, short of heroes, is hoping so much that it hurts.

Bon courage.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • CodandChips on July 25, 2014, 18:25 GMT

    I would have preferred a genuine keeper to Buttler. I maintain that wicketkeepers' first job is behind the stumps.

    However I will be at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday and would be lying if I said I wasn't excited about Jos Buttler being in the side.

    I hope he doesn't go into his shell. Obviously I don't want him to do anything stupid or reckless, but I hope he is able to use his attacking instincts when required.

    I agree the bit on his modesty. For such a destructive and talented batsman, he is surprisingly quiet.

    I hope he's given time. He's not a natural gloveman like Foster and co, but neither was Prior. He won't be an instant success, so we need to stick by him.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 27, 2014, 9:56 GMT

    @JG2704 (post on July 26, 2014, 21:23 GMT): I hear ya bud. He [Buttler] has been told by Cook et al. to try and play his natural (aggressive) game and not try to change things too much. This, as pointed out by your good self and a few other observant posters, comes a few mere weeks after a series of interviews/articles where Cook claimed Buttler was not ready for the test arena, and Buttler promising to play more controlled/safe should he get the opportunity. So I'm none the wiser. We'll just have to wait and see; with England batting first, we'll probably already get our first glimpses today...

  • JG2704 on July 26, 2014, 21:23 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (July 26, 2014, 18:38 GMT) Have to say I'm not even that convinced he will add that much spark. It could well be the case that his spark only comes alive in SFs. His SR in 1st class cricket this season is about 5 down on Read's and slightly down on Bairstow's and his average this season is down 5 on Read and 10 on Bairstow and his career ave is slightly down on Read's and signifiacantly down on Bairstow's Unless he does something different from what he does in CC then I don't see him being that aggressive.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 26, 2014, 18:38 GMT

    One of those many times in test cricket when all you can do is wait with bated breath and see what happens. The choice for the new wicket-keeper was always going to divide the field: anticipation of the youthful Buttler adding some much needed spark to the batting, vs. the safer keeping of the veteran Fosters and Reads out there. It's not the best of times to make a debut/comeback to test cricket, with England struggling and senior players in the team in such poor form. Best of luck to Jos Buttler.

  • opto_pus on July 26, 2014, 16:23 GMT

    India need Varun Arron along with Bhuneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Mohamed Shami to give India real attacking oppions on the seam front and expose this third rate English batting line up. Butler is getting a go at test cricket not because of great first class or ODI form but because Prior quit and bottled it, like an English bottler like Swan and Trott before him. If India have the courage to go with four good seamers England's batting will disintegrate.

  • CodandChips on July 26, 2014, 16:09 GMT

    I just want to add that I hope playing test cricket doesn't suddenly start to have a negative effect on his white-ball game. Buttler has the potential to become the best white-ball finisher in the game. I'd hate to compromise that.

    England play more cricket than any other country. This is why England players get rested so much. If Buttler starts to play all 3 formats for England he will need resting from the occasional series I assume. If this happens England will need to ask in which format(s) does Jos Buttler best serve the country? I hope they have sense enough to realise his best service for England will be in the white-ball games.

  • GrumpiusMaximus on July 26, 2014, 16:05 GMT

    I still think Foster would have been a better choice. He's in form with the bat and his keeping is miles ahead of Buttler's. I'm a strong advocate of picking the best team at the time - especially when we're doing so poorly. Twenty wickets is the key and I think Foster makes that more likely.

    With that said, I wish Buttler all the best. He seems like a very decent bloke and he could bring a new energy into the side that's been lacking of late. He has a long career ahead of him so I can understand the selection even if I don't entirely agree with it. If he can cement his place in the team through good glove work and aggressive batting he's a good option for the future.

  • pestonji on July 26, 2014, 15:20 GMT

    Another mistake by England. If there are doubts about butler's keeping why give him the role. W.k. is a specialist role. Give it to the best keeper in England. This bits and pieces approach has always hurt England. It smacks of difference but they never seem to learn.

  • on July 26, 2014, 15:19 GMT

    This is the time when you make legends from no where, this is moment to grab an opportunity. Butler had been fanatics one dayer for England in recent past, however the kind of role he has to play in england line up is much dependent on how tailenders perform. England is yet to win a test match and Butler is coming as a replacement of Prior, he is carrying hope of England while batting at no.7 .

  • on July 26, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    It is nice to see ECB selectors placing faith in youngsters: Robson, Ballance, Root, & now Buttler.

    Whether it is Buttler, or some one else, or even the young boy Whiteman currently making waves in Australia is secondary. The primary issue is the willingness to to try out young ones with fire in the belly.That's the way to go.

  • CodandChips on July 25, 2014, 18:25 GMT

    I would have preferred a genuine keeper to Buttler. I maintain that wicketkeepers' first job is behind the stumps.

    However I will be at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday and would be lying if I said I wasn't excited about Jos Buttler being in the side.

    I hope he doesn't go into his shell. Obviously I don't want him to do anything stupid or reckless, but I hope he is able to use his attacking instincts when required.

    I agree the bit on his modesty. For such a destructive and talented batsman, he is surprisingly quiet.

    I hope he's given time. He's not a natural gloveman like Foster and co, but neither was Prior. He won't be an instant success, so we need to stick by him.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 27, 2014, 9:56 GMT

    @JG2704 (post on July 26, 2014, 21:23 GMT): I hear ya bud. He [Buttler] has been told by Cook et al. to try and play his natural (aggressive) game and not try to change things too much. This, as pointed out by your good self and a few other observant posters, comes a few mere weeks after a series of interviews/articles where Cook claimed Buttler was not ready for the test arena, and Buttler promising to play more controlled/safe should he get the opportunity. So I'm none the wiser. We'll just have to wait and see; with England batting first, we'll probably already get our first glimpses today...

  • JG2704 on July 26, 2014, 21:23 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (July 26, 2014, 18:38 GMT) Have to say I'm not even that convinced he will add that much spark. It could well be the case that his spark only comes alive in SFs. His SR in 1st class cricket this season is about 5 down on Read's and slightly down on Bairstow's and his average this season is down 5 on Read and 10 on Bairstow and his career ave is slightly down on Read's and signifiacantly down on Bairstow's Unless he does something different from what he does in CC then I don't see him being that aggressive.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 26, 2014, 18:38 GMT

    One of those many times in test cricket when all you can do is wait with bated breath and see what happens. The choice for the new wicket-keeper was always going to divide the field: anticipation of the youthful Buttler adding some much needed spark to the batting, vs. the safer keeping of the veteran Fosters and Reads out there. It's not the best of times to make a debut/comeback to test cricket, with England struggling and senior players in the team in such poor form. Best of luck to Jos Buttler.

  • opto_pus on July 26, 2014, 16:23 GMT

    India need Varun Arron along with Bhuneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Mohamed Shami to give India real attacking oppions on the seam front and expose this third rate English batting line up. Butler is getting a go at test cricket not because of great first class or ODI form but because Prior quit and bottled it, like an English bottler like Swan and Trott before him. If India have the courage to go with four good seamers England's batting will disintegrate.

  • CodandChips on July 26, 2014, 16:09 GMT

    I just want to add that I hope playing test cricket doesn't suddenly start to have a negative effect on his white-ball game. Buttler has the potential to become the best white-ball finisher in the game. I'd hate to compromise that.

    England play more cricket than any other country. This is why England players get rested so much. If Buttler starts to play all 3 formats for England he will need resting from the occasional series I assume. If this happens England will need to ask in which format(s) does Jos Buttler best serve the country? I hope they have sense enough to realise his best service for England will be in the white-ball games.

  • GrumpiusMaximus on July 26, 2014, 16:05 GMT

    I still think Foster would have been a better choice. He's in form with the bat and his keeping is miles ahead of Buttler's. I'm a strong advocate of picking the best team at the time - especially when we're doing so poorly. Twenty wickets is the key and I think Foster makes that more likely.

    With that said, I wish Buttler all the best. He seems like a very decent bloke and he could bring a new energy into the side that's been lacking of late. He has a long career ahead of him so I can understand the selection even if I don't entirely agree with it. If he can cement his place in the team through good glove work and aggressive batting he's a good option for the future.

  • pestonji on July 26, 2014, 15:20 GMT

    Another mistake by England. If there are doubts about butler's keeping why give him the role. W.k. is a specialist role. Give it to the best keeper in England. This bits and pieces approach has always hurt England. It smacks of difference but they never seem to learn.

  • on July 26, 2014, 15:19 GMT

    This is the time when you make legends from no where, this is moment to grab an opportunity. Butler had been fanatics one dayer for England in recent past, however the kind of role he has to play in england line up is much dependent on how tailenders perform. England is yet to win a test match and Butler is coming as a replacement of Prior, he is carrying hope of England while batting at no.7 .

  • on July 26, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    It is nice to see ECB selectors placing faith in youngsters: Robson, Ballance, Root, & now Buttler.

    Whether it is Buttler, or some one else, or even the young boy Whiteman currently making waves in Australia is secondary. The primary issue is the willingness to to try out young ones with fire in the belly.That's the way to go.

  • Mr.CricketJKNotHussey on July 26, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    Honestly, this is exactly what English cricket needed. An injection of freshness and daring. Buttler is the most "un-english" English player out there.....much like a certain former player of South African decent. I'm not saying he will be a sure shot success, but he needed to be inducted into the squad soon. The more experience he gets, the better it is for England. I just hope the board doe not interfere with his free-style playing.

  • BhushanPheonix on July 26, 2014, 13:13 GMT

    From my analysis this is only one change, they need a geniune spinner and also an attacking opener may be Alex Hales.. at this point of time England needs more in form players rather than Class players who are out of form...

  • on July 26, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    Spin is the acid test of a keeper. He might have his work cut out. When it spins Moeen seems to be turning it sharply. Not with the control or dip of Swann, but in terms of revs on the ball and turn off the pitch - well he spins it a lot more than the Indian spinners, but for some reason India don't play their best spinner. The "spinometer" thing is frequently in the red, and the deviation is in the region of 8 degrees when the pitch offers turn -which is a ton.

    Buttler will need to keep well against spin, not drop the catches that Prior was spilling, rally the fielders and bat with freedom - and all that with a bit of luck to get him through his first few games.

  • nlpdave on July 26, 2014, 10:20 GMT

    Having picked Butler on media recommendation and sticking to the 'all rounder' concept as opposed to simply picking the best keeper, best bowlers, best batters etc. I wonder how long they will stick with him if he doesn't instantly impress. However, cutting your teeth on a moderate Indian bowling attack and no English spinner who can get the ball of the straight is is an easy a debut as one could possibly ask for. The risk of course is that he will perform moderately and remain in the side when the real opposition turns up again. England seem to only want an athletic stopper behind the stumps so there will be no pressure on his glove work and even the odd 30 at no 7 may be enough for the England regime to claim success. However, you can never tell and one needs a chance to shine. Some like Rashid would have welcomed this approach but, then again, maybe he doesn't have influential medial friends. On the Gilchrist comparison as has already been mentioned its a quite comical comparison.

  • brusselslion on July 26, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    The selector's policy seems to be build for the future (although personally I'd rather win for today, and would have gone for Foster). However, given their policy I guess that Buttler was effectively the only choice. Foster and Read are too old in the selector's eyes; Davies no longer keeps. Bairstow blew his chance over the last couple of years (although he still has time to come back), so that leaves them with Buttler for better or worse. We can only wish the lad good luck on his debut.

  • on July 26, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    let him start playing... before he start do not brand him as Gilchrist.

  • on July 26, 2014, 9:48 GMT

    Butler has the potential to be better than Prior, but he is still young and has many things to learn. His call up now though may do him good as he will be able to watch Dhoni one of the best in the world and learn things from him. But either way I hope Prior does return when he is fully fit despite what people say, stats show that he is our best and I know he still has it in him

  • iwatcheditwhenwewasrubbish on July 26, 2014, 9:16 GMT

    How many runs does a wicket keeper have to score to make up for a dropped catch? Not to mention the time in the match which is lost and the physical/mental effect on the bowlers of having to get batsmen out twice.

    We should have left Buttler to keep wicket for a season at county level, this is taking a huge risk with his self confidence. Read or Foster (Jack Russel described him as being the best wicket keeper in the world and lets be honest Jack knows more than the ECB about wicket keeping-probably more about everything cricket related as well) could have kept wicket for a year then Buttler could have come in with more experience behind the stumps.

  • jmcilhinney on July 26, 2014, 8:10 GMT

    It is exciting to imagine what Buttler may be able to do but let's not forget that there was a lot of hype surrounding his entering the limited-overs teams and it took him some time to find his feet there even. He's not going to be this team's saviour and, like others, I'm not really sure that he was the best selection based on his keeping. He's unlikely to be worse than Prior has been with the gloves mind you, but surely a genuine improvement is what England should want. Missed catches and stumpings have cost England so much over these past few years that they should at least want to stem the flow behind the stumps. I'm not confident that Buttler is the man to do that though.

  • JG2704 on July 26, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    Everyone knows my opinion on Buttler's inclusion but now he is there I hope he is not too circumspect. If he fails I hope he fails playing aggressively. I don't think he will but I'd love to see him play like KP did when he 1st came into the Eng side in the Ashes 2005. I'd rather see him losing his wicket having gone for the jugular rather than being overcautious. I feel we already have an overcautious nature in our set up which has got worse over the years. Even if it goes wrong , I'd love to see him play some of his reverse and scoop shots in tests. KP proved it does work so long as the shot selection is right so please Jos express yourself.

  • JG2704 on July 26, 2014, 7:45 GMT

    @Paul Rone-Clarke on (July 25, 2014, 22:21 GMT) I'm a big Buttler fan in SFs but I would pick Bairstow over him right now. I've not seen Bairstow keep that much but I don't rate Buttler's keeping at all right now. This is the 1st season Buttler has played 4 day cricket properly. Also I don't see how you can say the other JB isn't in the same class as Buttler. Last time I looked he had a better 1st class average in his career and in this season too. I'm not advocating Bairstow's inclusion (I'd have gone for Read) but how you can say he's not in Jos's class when he has season after season been a consistent 1st class batsman is beyond me. The other thing with Bairstow is he has some decent knocks behind him for Eng even if there are more sketchy ones but at least he knows he can do it

  • JG2704 on July 26, 2014, 7:45 GMT

    @Paul_Somerset - Interesting comms. I obviously read your comms at the time re the Lancs game this season but it actually sounds from your comms here that he looks like he's maybe even regressed as a keeper and certainly showed no signs of improvement

    @IndCricFan2013-I've seen him talk about being aggressive but I've also seen him talk about playing himself in etc so I also worry about a confused mindset. I'd rather see him given license and play similarly to SFs. I hope he uses his arsenal of shots in test cricket. KP became half the player when he put away his reverse shots etc

    @skilebow - You are saying Read's batting isn't good enough to play for England despite him averaging 5 more than Buttler this year (living in the present) and that on top of his so obvious superiority behind the stumps. So if Read isn't good enough as a batsman then Buttler can't be can he?

  • brahms on July 26, 2014, 7:24 GMT

    If I read Paul Rone-Clarke correctly he is arguing that Bairstow is not in the same class as Buttler as a batsman. That is true, but not in the way he thinks. Look at the figures. Bairstow's career batting average is 43.5. Compare that to Cook - 47.4, Bell - 45.8, Root - 44.8, Robson, Prior and Kieswetter all just under 40 (39-point-something), Moeen Ali 37.8, then there is a big, big gap before you get to Buttler in the low 30s. Bairstow is a class player, but the England set-up doesn't seem to recognise that fact.

  • AntonDeck on July 26, 2014, 7:23 GMT

    Judging Prior solely against Gilchrist is a bit unfair. Perhaps judging him against Dhoni would be better? In tests Prior has had the far superior record. It did take him a fair while to become a good keeper though, but during his best spell he was very strong and couldve been picked on his batting alone. In Aus and this summer he like many of the senior payers looks mentally shot, and in his case physically too. The reason hes stepped aside (rather than waiting to be dropped again) is because he has injuries that are stopping him from keeping to the best of his ability and is man enough to admit it. Whilst it doenst mean the door is totally shut I guess England will see this as a chance to move on and build Buttler long term. But lets not kid ourselves about Buttler. Hes stating from a worse place as a batsman and keeper than Prior did when he came into tests and was proclaimed "not good enough".

  • on July 26, 2014, 7:23 GMT

    @Landl47. You comparing Gilchrist to Buttler is just plain silly regarding debut. The only reason Gilly couldn't get in the test team was that Australia's best ever keeper Healy kept him out and yes Healy was better than Marsh as even past greats agree too. But who is keeping Buttler out? It was Prior who shouldn't have even been picked after the Ashes as his keeping was terrible and he wasn't even fit. This should clear it all up.

  • dunger.bob on July 26, 2014, 7:10 GMT

    @ ygkd: Beautifully put. Lot's of people forget that first and foremost Gilly was a wicket keeper and a bloody good one at that. He didn't play a Test until he was 28 or so because Ian Healy was still the best keeper during Gilly's younger years. It wasn't until Heals starting slowing down Glichrist got a look in. .. Warne and McGrath seemed happy with him and it's not like either of those 2 are shrinking violets. I'm sure they would have said something if he was only average behind the stumps.

    Anyway, good luck to Josh just the same. He seems a very nice bloke and most of us can see he has prodigious talent. .. Let's if he can help England win something.

  • on July 26, 2014, 7:06 GMT

    Prior is injured. That is why he has taken a break. His injury has affected his keeping and batting.

  • Ozcricketwriter on July 26, 2014, 6:25 GMT

    Across England's test history, only 5 wicket keepers have over 150 dismissals with more than 2.8 dismissals/test average: Allan Knott, Bob Taylor, Alec Stewart, Jack Russell and Matt Prior. Of these, the one with the highest batting average is Matt Prior. The one with the most dismissals/test is also Matt Prior. In both cases, Matt Prior is a long way behind Adam Gilchrist. Yet Prior is being let go, and, according to some, he was a below par keeper. Jos Buttler in comparison has a much worse batting average and dismissals/first class game than Matt Prior - or any of the other 4 in that list. Buttler is a nice striker of the game and a viable option in the shorter formats of the game but he is nowhere near ready for test level. Picking him is very negative and reeks of desperation. Is Matt Prior this badly out of form? Or is this clutching at straws? The chances of Buttler succeeding are very low.

  • on July 26, 2014, 5:19 GMT

    buttlers batting might was in full view when he faced ravindra jadeja in the champions trophy final

  • ygkd on July 26, 2014, 0:17 GMT

    As Cod&Chips says neither Prior or Buttler are natural gloveman. If Buttler is good enough as a batsman, and his FC record does not definitively say that, then he should play as a batsman - there are enough opportunities there and good luck to him with them. A gloveman though should be a natural at it, just as opening bowlers and opening bats should be specialists. That doesn't mean a gloveman should not bat well, but it shouldn't be the one-and-only reason why he's picked. If there's two all-rounders in a Test team (which is probably one too many) why does the wicket-keeper have to be chosen for his batting too? It takes twenty wickets to win a Test usually and a natural gloveman is a wicket-taker. Those 37 stumpings of Gilchrist - imagine if a lesser gloveman had been there and only taken 7 (while missing some of those catches plus letting more byes through)? Would Australia have been quite so unbeatable then? A non-natural gloveman is a false economy. It's robbing Peter to pay Paul.

  • ygkd on July 26, 2014, 0:03 GMT

    A fair comparison thus far - Yes, Gilchrist had to leave NSW to get a run with the gloves in WA, as NSW had a Test-capped keeper in Phil Emery as captain or vice-captain. Buttler left Somerset, where Craig Kieswetter was entrenched ahead of him. Now, Kieswetter's an international keeper but he's no Emery with the gloves. To be behind Kieswetter is not the same as being behind Emery. Kieswetter can bat. Buttler can bat. But neither are a Gilchrist. Comparisons to Gilchrist, or Warne, or Botham, or McGrath do no-one any favours, just as the use of stats often do. Although, there is one stat that does stand out - 9% of Gilchrist's Test dismissals were stumpings (yes, Warne & the one who was always compared unfairly to him - MacGill had a hand in that). That is what England needs - a spinner and a keeper who can gel together. Swann is often said to be no Laker or Lock but then it helps when you have someone like Godfrey Evans behind the stumps. Prior & Buttler are just not in that league.

  • skilebow on July 25, 2014, 23:46 GMT

    I find it strange how many people still cling to the idea that a wicketkeeper should be a glove man first. Give it up...I've just watched Chris reed keep beautifully for Notts including a great catch to get rid of finch but should he keep for England? of course he shouldn't, his batting is not good enough. Live in the present where a batsman who can catch is so much more valuable

  • IndCricFan2013 on July 25, 2014, 23:35 GMT

    Sure, may be you can try and compare Butler with his role model Gilchrist, but you put out Gilchrist stats for him to match, before he makes a debut? I see, It is Hopps article about a HOPE, so nothing wrong in hoping that hopps. Well, Dhoni watch out, if Butler plays as promised as aggressive, He might score more than Dhoni, as Dhoni is caught between aggressive and responsibility, so he is bring in Rohit Sharma at No.6. So, If butler can score than Dhoni and/or Rohit, good enough, that is my hope for him.

  • Paul_Somerset on July 25, 2014, 22:38 GMT

    The best first-class innings I have seen in my life was Buttler's 100 off 112 balls for Somerset against Sussex in 2011. http://www.espncricinfo.com/county-cricket-2011/engine/match/492135.html

    On a dreadfully difficult pitch with turn and variable bounce he took his team from 93-7 to 235-8 and ultimately to victory. The patience he showed waiting for Panesar finally to drop one fractionally short was exemplary. The power with which he smashed both Panesar and Wayne Parnell into the River Tone and out of the attack was unparalleled. He left Parnell broken, kicking at the stumps in frustration.

    When with Somerset he was a skilled and usually efficient keeper. But on the evidence of his return to Taunton last month, when he conceded 24 byes, Lancashire have ruined his keeping. Admittedly nearly all those byes were the result of Simon Kerrigan's persistent inaccuracy, but there was a worrying stiffness and lack of confidence about the Lancs version of Buttler.

  • landl47 on July 25, 2014, 22:37 GMT

    I've already said several times that I don't think Buttler is good enough either as a batsman or, more importantly, as a wicketkeeper to be playing tests yet. At this point, with the decision made, all I can do is wish him a great debut and hope that he performs as well as he possibly can.

    However, I can't resist pointing out that with all the discussion and statistics of Adam Gilchrist's stellar career, one very important one has been left out. Gilchrist made his test debut on 5th November 1999, nine days before his 28th birthday. Yes, you read it correctly, 28th. If Buttler isn't ready yet, he can console himself with the fact that his idol took the best part of 5 years longer to make it to the test side. I hope those who are putting such high expectations on his shoulders will remember that.

  • on July 25, 2014, 22:21 GMT

    @Yorkshire-86 Can't believe you can call Buttler a T20 slogger then propose Kieswetter as a test keeper? And as for Bairstow "Teflon hands" Really? He might be good one day in the future, but now, as a number 7 batsman, he's not in the same class as Buttler, not even close. England want an aggressive number 6 or 7, not a leaden footed number 3 or 4

  • JG2704 on July 25, 2014, 22:16 GMT

    C. Felix Lawrence is spot on. I'm not usually one to go for short term/quick fix solutions but this is a situation which requires a solid/stable WK and that is not Jos.

    If he was coming into a winning side then I'd not be so against it but he is not.

    Of course he could surprise us all but I'd say it is not just gambling on how he affects England but also how it will affect him.

    Gilchrist was a special player and another difference is looking at the batting line up he had above him when he came into the side. I'm not sure what AGs SR was in his domestic league at the time he was selected but Jos's is 59 which suggests he is not going to play in the aggressive nature which he does in SFs and I think he is already talking about being circumspect..

    Also I wonder if Cook's "Not ready" comms would still play on his mind. Of course it could even have a good effect on Jos as it may fire him up

  • YogifromNY on July 25, 2014, 20:51 GMT

    As a supporter of the Indian cricket team who's based in the US, I must admit I don't know that much about England, other than when they play Ind. However, with all the processes and systems and support staff they have put on, they cannot find a genuine wicketkeeper batsman but need to find a talented batsman who can occasionally keep? That reflects poorly on their administrative and player setup.

    Why not drop Bell and get Buttler in in his place, and also find a genuine wicketkeeper to replace Prior?

  • on July 25, 2014, 19:40 GMT

    I think it's a great idea to get Jos Buttler into the team. He is easily one of the most talented lads and an obvious choice with Prior out of the picture. Having a counterattacking lower middle order batsman will boost England's confidence big time and since they have a pretty decent lower order (even #11 bats pretty well), an attacking keeper to go with it makes a lot of sense. Yes, his first class record may not be great.. but England could not sink any lower so this may be the perfect time to debut.. Give him a run for at least 10 tests or 3 test series. Let him play his natural attacking game. I'm sure we will see the entire team morale go up.

  • yorkshire-86 on July 25, 2014, 18:48 GMT

    Should have been Bairstow or Kieswetter, as Buttler is more of a twenty twenty slogger who keeps a bit.

  • on July 25, 2014, 17:35 GMT

    Joss is one of the nicest blokes you would ever want to meet. A genuinely lovely guy. I hope this is the making of him. Remember Gilchrist was a complete unknown when he replaced Healy. He was actually jeered the first time he walked out to bat for Oz, A sizable contingent said he wasn't ready.

    He also was a complete gent and an ambassador of the game, someone who, as an England supporter - I never begrudged doing well against us.

    If an honest desire to do well and native talent is enough to make it?.. Buttler will be a huge success for a decade or more. But who knows. I'm hoping he makes it.

    Joss is the sort of player who I will stop working and switch on the radio or TV to watch. A bar emptier if he stays true to his natural game Go Joss - Let's hope Hales and Taylor are not far behind!

  • MarkTaffin on July 25, 2014, 16:43 GMT

    Not sure their is THAT much enthusiasm for Buttler as an iconic beacon of light, of saviour, Hoppsy. Indeed, to follow your Thatcher analogy, there is the view that Buttler is to the England wicketkeeping position what That was to northern mining communities...

  • on July 25, 2014, 16:39 GMT

    Jos Buttler is not ready for TEST CRICKET.... Considering there are only 3 TESTS for them this year..... A short-term solution would have been better..... James Foster/Chris Read/Steven Davies/Tim Ambrose/Jonny Bairstow would have been able alternatives for Southampton, Old Trafford and the Oval.... Bairstow and Ambrose are able batsmen as well.... while Read, Foster and Davies are 3 of the best wicketkeepers in the UK....... Although Davies is uncapped at TEST LEVEL and does not keep for Surrey anymore [who have Rory Burns, Gary Wilson in their ranks...]..... So a CARRIBBEAN TEST DEBUT would have been ideal for Jos Buttler...... Personally, I would have gone for either Foster or Bairstow for these 3 Home (Summer) TESTS!!!!!

  • on July 25, 2014, 16:39 GMT

    Jos Buttler is not ready for TEST CRICKET.... Considering there are only 3 TESTS for them this year..... A short-term solution would have been better..... James Foster/Chris Read/Steven Davies/Tim Ambrose/Jonny Bairstow would have been able alternatives for Southampton, Old Trafford and the Oval.... Bairstow and Ambrose are able batsmen as well.... while Read, Foster and Davies are 3 of the best wicketkeepers in the UK....... Although Davies is uncapped at TEST LEVEL and does not keep for Surrey anymore [who have Rory Burns, Gary Wilson in their ranks...]..... So a CARRIBBEAN TEST DEBUT would have been ideal for Jos Buttler...... Personally, I would have gone for either Foster or Bairstow for these 3 Home (Summer) TESTS!!!!!

  • MarkTaffin on July 25, 2014, 16:43 GMT

    Not sure their is THAT much enthusiasm for Buttler as an iconic beacon of light, of saviour, Hoppsy. Indeed, to follow your Thatcher analogy, there is the view that Buttler is to the England wicketkeeping position what That was to northern mining communities...

  • on July 25, 2014, 17:35 GMT

    Joss is one of the nicest blokes you would ever want to meet. A genuinely lovely guy. I hope this is the making of him. Remember Gilchrist was a complete unknown when he replaced Healy. He was actually jeered the first time he walked out to bat for Oz, A sizable contingent said he wasn't ready.

    He also was a complete gent and an ambassador of the game, someone who, as an England supporter - I never begrudged doing well against us.

    If an honest desire to do well and native talent is enough to make it?.. Buttler will be a huge success for a decade or more. But who knows. I'm hoping he makes it.

    Joss is the sort of player who I will stop working and switch on the radio or TV to watch. A bar emptier if he stays true to his natural game Go Joss - Let's hope Hales and Taylor are not far behind!

  • yorkshire-86 on July 25, 2014, 18:48 GMT

    Should have been Bairstow or Kieswetter, as Buttler is more of a twenty twenty slogger who keeps a bit.

  • on July 25, 2014, 19:40 GMT

    I think it's a great idea to get Jos Buttler into the team. He is easily one of the most talented lads and an obvious choice with Prior out of the picture. Having a counterattacking lower middle order batsman will boost England's confidence big time and since they have a pretty decent lower order (even #11 bats pretty well), an attacking keeper to go with it makes a lot of sense. Yes, his first class record may not be great.. but England could not sink any lower so this may be the perfect time to debut.. Give him a run for at least 10 tests or 3 test series. Let him play his natural attacking game. I'm sure we will see the entire team morale go up.

  • YogifromNY on July 25, 2014, 20:51 GMT

    As a supporter of the Indian cricket team who's based in the US, I must admit I don't know that much about England, other than when they play Ind. However, with all the processes and systems and support staff they have put on, they cannot find a genuine wicketkeeper batsman but need to find a talented batsman who can occasionally keep? That reflects poorly on their administrative and player setup.

    Why not drop Bell and get Buttler in in his place, and also find a genuine wicketkeeper to replace Prior?

  • JG2704 on July 25, 2014, 22:16 GMT

    C. Felix Lawrence is spot on. I'm not usually one to go for short term/quick fix solutions but this is a situation which requires a solid/stable WK and that is not Jos.

    If he was coming into a winning side then I'd not be so against it but he is not.

    Of course he could surprise us all but I'd say it is not just gambling on how he affects England but also how it will affect him.

    Gilchrist was a special player and another difference is looking at the batting line up he had above him when he came into the side. I'm not sure what AGs SR was in his domestic league at the time he was selected but Jos's is 59 which suggests he is not going to play in the aggressive nature which he does in SFs and I think he is already talking about being circumspect..

    Also I wonder if Cook's "Not ready" comms would still play on his mind. Of course it could even have a good effect on Jos as it may fire him up

  • on July 25, 2014, 22:21 GMT

    @Yorkshire-86 Can't believe you can call Buttler a T20 slogger then propose Kieswetter as a test keeper? And as for Bairstow "Teflon hands" Really? He might be good one day in the future, but now, as a number 7 batsman, he's not in the same class as Buttler, not even close. England want an aggressive number 6 or 7, not a leaden footed number 3 or 4

  • landl47 on July 25, 2014, 22:37 GMT

    I've already said several times that I don't think Buttler is good enough either as a batsman or, more importantly, as a wicketkeeper to be playing tests yet. At this point, with the decision made, all I can do is wish him a great debut and hope that he performs as well as he possibly can.

    However, I can't resist pointing out that with all the discussion and statistics of Adam Gilchrist's stellar career, one very important one has been left out. Gilchrist made his test debut on 5th November 1999, nine days before his 28th birthday. Yes, you read it correctly, 28th. If Buttler isn't ready yet, he can console himself with the fact that his idol took the best part of 5 years longer to make it to the test side. I hope those who are putting such high expectations on his shoulders will remember that.

  • Paul_Somerset on July 25, 2014, 22:38 GMT

    The best first-class innings I have seen in my life was Buttler's 100 off 112 balls for Somerset against Sussex in 2011. http://www.espncricinfo.com/county-cricket-2011/engine/match/492135.html

    On a dreadfully difficult pitch with turn and variable bounce he took his team from 93-7 to 235-8 and ultimately to victory. The patience he showed waiting for Panesar finally to drop one fractionally short was exemplary. The power with which he smashed both Panesar and Wayne Parnell into the River Tone and out of the attack was unparalleled. He left Parnell broken, kicking at the stumps in frustration.

    When with Somerset he was a skilled and usually efficient keeper. But on the evidence of his return to Taunton last month, when he conceded 24 byes, Lancashire have ruined his keeping. Admittedly nearly all those byes were the result of Simon Kerrigan's persistent inaccuracy, but there was a worrying stiffness and lack of confidence about the Lancs version of Buttler.