England news October 2, 2013

Buttler targets Test cricket from Lancashire move

Myles Hodgson

Jos Buttler, England's one-day wicketkeeper-batsman, has his sights set on Test cricket after sacrificing a settled life with Somerset to move to Lancashire.

Buttler hopes the switch from Taunton to Old Trafford will allow him to escape his typecast as an aggressive one-day player and establish himself in all forms of the game to put pressure on England's incumbent Test wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

Born and bred in Taunton, Buttler, 23, has already played 19 one-day internationals and 25 Twenty20 internationals with his powerful batting lending itself to the limited-overs formats. But he believes that with the guidance of Peter Moores, Lancashire's coach and himself a former wicketkeeper, he can improve sufficiently to challenge for a place in England's Test side.

He became irritated at his lack of opportunities as wicketkeeper in Championship cricket at Somerset, where Craig Kieswetter - who Buttler replaced for England in one-day cricket - became their established man behind the stumps.

"I was a little bit concerned about being pigeon-holed as a one-day player and I'm keen to get rid of that tag," Buttler said at his unveiling as a Lancashire player at Old Trafford. "I'm more ambitious than that and I want to play Test cricket.

"I want to become a wicketkeeper. When you're keeping wicket for England in one-day cricket and not doing it at Somerset, there's bound to be a bit of frustration. I think that's obvious to anyone that if you want to keep wicket for England, you've got to be keeping day in, day out. I think I'd been doing myself a disservice and taking a huge risk if I wasn't plying my trade in county cricket as a wicketkeeper while trying to perform at international level."

Buttler was taken to Taunton from the age of 9 and since making his first class debut for Somerset, ironically against Lancashire in 2009, he has averaged 31.73 in 48 matches, including nine half centuries and three hundreds. He is aiming to improve those figures in the coming years with Lancashire, where he hopes Moores's coaching expertise can also help him develop his wicketkeeping skills.

"I know your numbers have to stack up and that's down to me to turn myself into a consistent run-maker in first-class cricket," Buttler said. "Now I've made the decision to leave Somerset and come here and further not just my wicketkeeping but further my cricket as a whole. It's an exciting place to be, there are some great people to work with and I'm excited where my cricket can get to both batting and wicketkeeping."

Buttler admitted the last year had become difficult for him at Somerset while his contract situation became such a hot topic. The speculation over his future finally ended when it was confirmed within hours of their last match at Trent Bridge, when they secured their future in Division One, that he would be leaving and the worst kept secret in county cricket was ended when Lancashire revealed they had signed him despite interest from Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire.

"It's been a tough year," he said. "The easiest place was just focusing on playing cricket. It's when I wasn't playing when people were asking questions and at the end of the day, you've got to do what's right for your career, and this is the right move. I'm excited about it, and am excited about where I can get to as a player. This is a great place to be doing it.

"Having met with Peter Moores and Mike Watkinson, the ambition they've got at this brilliant venue is exciting. That's something I want to be a part of. It is a massive club. As I walked in with my agent Neil Fairbrother, I realise this is a huge place. Coming from Somerset, which is quite a small club, you realise this is a big club, and I'm excited to be a part of it."

Buttler's Lancashire debut may have to wait. He is expected to be required by England for their one-day series in the West Indies in March followed by the World T20 in Bangladesh at the start of April. Before then Buttler has a month-long trip with the England Performance Programme to Australia, alongside new Lancashire team-mate Simon Kerrigan and is likely to be selected on England Lions' tour of Sri Lanka in January.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Brian on October 7, 2013, 18:38 GMT

    @Henrik; read my message again and you'll see that I used the word 'almost' in a way which negates your suggestion that I overlooked Glenn Chapple. In any case you are actually wrong that Chapple 'never played for England' and Allan Jones was similarly 'blatantly overlooked' by England; Chapple played an ODI for England , and Jones played what at the time was considered a test match, only subsequently ruled not a test match. Other cases of England selectors' oversight, notably of Jones's Glamorgan colleague Don Sheppard, could well be termed more blatantly. As for goings on in England's selection policy in the last ten years, whatever you think about that subject certainly that shouldn't have brought you into collision with my post, which only referred to a certain time in the 1990s, i.e., earlier. By the way, I am a Lancashire fan.

  • John on October 5, 2013, 12:03 GMT

    Buttler needs to put in a couple of years of hard work on his game while Prior is still around. I have been quite critical of his tendency to put show before dough in his England appearances, but the 3 innings he played in the ODIs against Aus showed that he can be a quality batsman if he develops the discipline to work on his defence and his orthodox shot-making (something Morgan failed to do). As for his keeping, I thought it was excellent in the CT and in the ODIs- much better than I expected from someone who has had relatively few opportunities at county level.

    I disagree with Chris Ward; Bairstow is another England W/K prospect and in a few years so will Ben Foakes be, so if Buttler wants the job he'll have to push himself to get it, which is as it should be.

    I hope Kies stays at Somerset and it works out well for both club and player. I don't think he's going to make it as an international, but a good county career isn't the worst fate in the world.

  • John on October 4, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    @Chris Ward on (October 3, 2013, 22:45 GMT) Playing well paced inns in 50 over games is still a whole lot different to playing a long test innings. I believe he is capable of doing this but HE has to up his FC game. Morgan talked a good game re playing tests for England but I'd hardly say his actions were of a man desperate to play test cricket. Jos has better opportunities with the gloves but the same opportunity with the bat so it's up to him to up his game in that dept and NOT JUST believe in all that has been said to/about him.

  • Dummy4 on October 3, 2013, 22:45 GMT

    The people criticising his lack of ability to bat long innings and that he is only useful as a finisher in limited overs cricket clearly didn't watch his performances in the lat few one day games. The boy can really play. He's one of the most talented players in the English game and provided he doesn't let that go to his head and keeps his head to the grindstone doing the hard work that is necessary to help a talent flourish, he'll be an absolute shoe-in when Prior retires. No one else is even close, and I'm pretty sure that there will be several big Test hundreds on his record before he hangs up his boots.

  • Simon on October 3, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    Ok its been 6 days and I'm finally coming to terms with this. Basically, yes England have turned him, 'to make test keeper you'll have to keep in the CC'. They are culpable. The Craig thing was just completely unfortunate. Kies is a great batsman, a good wickie, he had the gloves, he is currently the better FC player. Somerset cant bend to the whim of England if it means destabilising the team. So that leaves Jos, and I can just about - this pains me no end - see his angle. He's spent his entire life within 30 miles of Taunton, he's young, his confidence is boundless, he wants experiences, he wants and (more importantly) believes he can be the best, Manchester offers him something new, promises of coaching to the level he aspires, the bright lights of a big city, one of the most exciting sporting cities on the planet (if you like the other game), a 5 year plan as Priors successor. Its rubbish but, as someone who went to Manc for 5 years I would be a hipocrite if I didnt understand.

  • John on October 3, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    @siltbreeze - I realise he needs to big up his move to Lancs but it would be nice if he had said something positive about his time at Taunton. Maybe something like "While I've enjoyed my time at Somerset , I'm excited by this new challenge" Maybe I'm being over sensitive

    @fishface1971 - I think right now Somerset has left Jos I'm afraid

    @somersetscott - I'm not sure Craig will ever get back in the England side. His face doesn't seem to fit

    @ChewtonMendip - Re "Somerset through and through" - I'm not sure he's as Somerset as you think despite him being born and raised here. I genuinely think his head has been turned. Craig may be the less talented player but IMO we'd eventually lose both Craig and Jos in an effort to keep Jos happy and Craig is surely a better option than Barrow. Obviously I could have it totally wrong re Jos but I genuinely have had a strong feeling he no longer wanted to be at the club even if he was offered the WK role full time

  • Cyril on October 3, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    Very refreshing to hear a young Englishman aim for Test cricket. Alex Hales needs to take note.

  • Bob on October 3, 2013, 17:55 GMT

    Why would Buttler have even considered Nottingham.. With Chris Read, probably one of the best keepers in the world, with no international calls, Buttler would wind up in the same boat as he was with Somerset... The same situation would probably exist at Warwickshire with Tim Ambrose currently occupying the #1 keeper spot... So to get the chance as a first-choice keeper with Lancashire...I'm not surprised he accepted their offer..

  • Dummy4 on October 3, 2013, 14:34 GMT

    I just can't understand it.

    1, he won't be around that much really over the next couple of years (if he continues to play as he has over the past year poss two) He is a shoe in for the 20/20 and almost a shoe in for 50 over for England.

    2, he wants to improve his wicket keeping and his FC game. OK wK he will improve as will be in the england set up and prity much will be the WK for that format for England. County he won't be there that much so Lancs will have to get cover for the games he won't be there. Which will be quite a few.

    3, Improve his batting for the FC to get in the test side. Sorry but he is not a Test batsman, far from it. him and morgan should not be in the test side at all. I would love them to have toe consistancy but there impact batsmen. There not reliable for consistant 50, 100, 150 etc no matter what average they get.

    Look at Bopara, ave 42 in Fc and 31 for England, Morgan 35 in FC and 30 in test. Both players are constantly hit by the press and fans low rates.

  • Martin on October 3, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    Very sad that Buttler was forced out of Somerset but completely understand why he's left and wish him all the best at Lancs. So disappointed that the Somerset management's blind faith in Kieswetter has continued. Kieswetter can't keep standing up which is surely where wicketkeeping prowess is really shown. His keeping to Chawla in one game was so bad that Trescothick had to put a back-stop in and in one-day games he often stays back to the medium-pacers. Buttler's keeping was excellent for England this summer and he has far more potential to become a really good w/k. Agree with Siltbreeze that Somerset have made a big mistake in failing to take a tough decision with Kieswetter. Not only is Buttler more talented but he is a Somerset boy through and through who loved the club and whom the supporters naturally adored. Having no feel for the club it's perhaps not a coincidence that Nosworthy should favour the South African. Sad indictment of the current Somerset management all round.