Buttler's confidence ramped up
Jos Buttler has admitted his relief at being able to play a part in an England victory after his brutal 32 off 10 balls against South Africa gave England a timely boost ahead of the World Twenty20. It was the first time Buttler had managed to translate his county exploits for Somerset onto the international stage and it has thrown his name into the spotlight as the team fly to Sri Lanka.
Buttler's England career remains in its infancy having made his debut last year against India so time was always on his side, but he came with such a reputation for matchwinning innings at domestic level that it was important to live up to his billing after six previous innings had brought a best of 13. That was quickly eclipsed as he straight drove two sixes off Wayne Parnell then twice flicked him over short fine-leg with his 'ramp' shot - the penultimate over of the shortened innings going on to cost 32.
"International cricket hasn't quite gone as I'd have hoped but days like this are really pleasing and give me a lot of confidence to take into Sri Lanka," Buttler said. "It was something I was desperate to get in an England shirt, to have that innings.
"I could take confidence from what I've done for Somerset but to do it on the international stage is a really proud moment. It's nice to repay the faith that people have shown in you. But I need to get back in the right frame of mind a look forward to Sri Lanka."
Buttler conceded that his confidence had taken a hit against Pakistan in the UAE earlier this year where his ramp twice brought his downfall during the Twenty20 series. However, he was not about to shelve a shot he had played since his days at the Somerset academy and continued to use it during this year's Friends Life t20 and CB40 competitions. He also said that a chat with Mark Bawden, the England team psychologist, and his county captain Marcus Trescothick had relaxed him ahead of the final match against South Africa.
"I had a bit of a confidence knock by getting out to it in Dubai, but think being myself was a huge thing," he said. "I had a good chat about things and had a nice couple of texts off Tres, just saying be yourself and enjoy it and that's what I did.
"It's a huge part of my game to either get fine leg or mid-off up to be able to hit straight and sweep. I always know I have an option. Guys improvise a lot these days and try to second guess bowlers so I'm glad I can do that and have it in my armoury."
Nowadays players practice scoops, ramps, flicks and switch-hits as much as their cover drives, hook and pulls and Buttler's belief in the shot comes from hours against the bowling machine to the extent that he sees it as a viable option regardless of how the bowler responds. That was shown on Wednesday at Edgbaston when Parnell tried to counter Buttler's approach by dragging his line outside off stump only to see the ball still fly over short fine-leg
"I'm looking for a ball in an area but I've worked on ways to compensate if it's in other areas and get bat on it and get off strike," Buttler said. "The way I play it, I think I can do it to a full ball, a wide ball or a back-of-a-length ball. I'm really comfortable with the shot, obviously it didn't work against Pakistan in the UAE - but talking to people they said it was a huge a part to my game so keep trying it and it came off."
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo