Sri Lanka in England 2014 June 2, 2014

Buttler would get Test chance... if he were Sri Lankan


Would Jos Buttler play Test cricket this summer if he was Sri Lankan? According to one adversary the answer goes without saying. "Obviously," said Sachithra Senanayake, speaking at The Oval the day after Buttler's incredible assault narrowly failed to prevent Sri Lanka from levelling the one-day series.

Buttler is not the sort of player that county academies can mass produce. In his unorthodoxy, chutzpah and ebullient self-confidence, his style is more reminiscent of Sri Lankan cricketers.

His scintillating 121 at Lord's was the most remarkable example yet of such explosiveness - but it was emphatically not a one-off. In 18 ODIs since last September, Buttler has scored 616 runs at 51.33 and with a strike-rate of 129.14. He has always had a rare capacity to thrill, but now it is being married to a formidable consistency.

No matter. Even in the aftermath of his maiden international century, Buttler was described by Alastair Cook as "not quite ready" for the Test arena. The doubts are legitimate: Buttler has scored just three first-class hundreds in 51 matches, averaging a mediocre 32.61. Yet Sri Lanka, one suspects, might take a rather less conservative approach to finding out whether Buttler is ready to thrive in the Test arena.

Senanayake is one of Sri Lanka's unorthodox talents - as if to underscore the point he was reported to the ICC over a suspected illegal bowling action on Monday - and he gave a straightforward answer when asked whether Sri Lanka would elevate Buttler on the compelling evidence of his recent work in limited-overs cricket

"If someone's performing in whatever category we would give him a chance to perform in all three formats," he said. "He got an opportunity and he took it. He played lots of reverse sweeps, sweeps and other stuff. It was a really safe match for us but Buttler did damage. He played his normal game. He's so positive. That's why he's scoring runs."

The style in which he did so was very different to that which has taken Mahela Jayawardene within sight of 25,000 international runs. But Jayawardene was equally enthusiastic about Buttler.

"He is a very good player," Jayawardene said. "We knew he was dangerous because he's done it a few times before. At Lord's everything seemed to come off for him and he connected with everything. He's definitely a dangerous customer. It is good to see all these younger guys thinking out of the box and playing the conditions and situation. It is all good for the game."

Whether such innings are transferrable to Test matches is the question that English fans increasingly want answered, whatever the reluctance of the selectors to find out. "How he played at Lord's is not the way you would approach Test cricket, but he is very talented," Jayawardene said.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roshan on June 3, 2014, 11:25 GMT

    It's Buttler's glovework which needs to improve. I think he would do well in batting as he apparently has the best first-class average for his county side, and attacking Test match batsman are abundant nowadays anyway. His flair and dynamism would certainly lift England. It's just his glovework he needs to improve on.

  • Dummy4 on June 3, 2014, 11:12 GMT

    Of course he would make it in the test team. We have more wicket-keeper batsmen than batsmen in the side.

  • Dummy4 on June 3, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    England blows his trumpet without any control even low profile player performs well in a single match. They highlight in many article saying different things. But after several match he fails and fails. This does not give them any help in long run...

  • Ross on June 3, 2014, 8:07 GMT

    I'm afraid just like football England Cricket selectors and indeed the team ethos is very negative. We always start with the premiss of not losing. Pick the safe players not those with flair. For all his annoying actions and habits look at KP he actually ' seemed ' to win or set up games off his own bat. Would a young Botham at 22 get into todays test team ? ...................perhaps not ? to unothodox

  • Dummy4 on June 3, 2014, 6:36 GMT

    Since when is Sachithra a selector for Sri Lanka? He was probably just answering a hypothetical question, and might have even intended to create some selection ripples for England. Some of the comments here are bit over the top imho.

  • udendra on June 3, 2014, 6:31 GMT

    As oppose to how many would think, SL are more conservative when it comes to tests, given the low number of matches they play these days. I think Buttler's problem is his glove-work which needs to be very good in test cricket.

  • John on June 3, 2014, 2:29 GMT

    @Sanjeev Bernard Fernando on (June 2, 2014, 20:12 GMT), noone is saying that he's not ready for Test cricket because of this innings. They're saying that he's not ready because when he's been required to apply the skills that Test cricket requires in first class cricket his results have been mediocre. Noone is saying that he won't be a Test cricketer; just that he doesn't look like one now.

  • Rob on June 2, 2014, 22:19 GMT

    Pefecct response Dr Vindaloo, I was going to write something on just those lines. Sri Lanka are hardly a model of Test success, especially in English conditions.

  • Dummy4 on June 2, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    If we are saying someone is not ready to play test cricket because he played a remarkable ODI inning filled with aggression and unorthodox shots, then it is not right. Had he scored 100 off 100 balls and Eng lost by 30, I suppose they'd say he is ready for test. Eng should look at guys like Warner who played tests with little first class experience and did very well!

  • Cricinfouser on June 2, 2014, 19:53 GMT

    Tiresome cliché. He isn't currently worth a place in a test side as a batsman or a wicketkeeper, regardless of his nationality.

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