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January 25, 2013
Jos Buttler has admitted to mixed emotions after replacing his friend and county team-mate, Craig Kieswetter, in the England one-day side in India.
Buttler was preferred to Kieswetter for the fourth match in Mohali and will retain his place for the final game of the series in Dharamsala, although he may yet lose his spot to Jonny Bairstow for the matches against New Zealand next month.
For now, though, Buttler is focusing on making the most of his opportunity with bat and gloves and knows he has to be ruthlessly professional despite the circumstances of his selection.
"My opportunity has come from the demise of a friend and that's not ideal, when your mate misses out, but it's a huge opportunity for me and one that I want to take," he said. "It is a bit tricky, because Craig and I are good friends and have been for a number of years... I don't think this will change that; this is the world of professional sport and there are only 11 spaces in the England side, that a lot of people want."
Buttler, who made his Somerset debut when Kieswetter was on England duty three years ago, has been taken a little by surprise by his elevation to the wicketkeeper's position. Having replaced the rested Jonathan Trott he envisaged competing for a batting slot but ensured he spent plenty of time working with Bruce French, the England wicketkeeping coach.
"I didn't really see wicketkeeping coming, but I've been working hard on it before Christmas," he said. "My keeping is still a work in progress, but I think that will improve as time goes on, especially with the amount of work I'm putting into it. It's something I think I'm developing and something I think can become a strength of mine.
Buttler gave a brief glimpse of his batting ability in Mohali with a nine-ball 14, which followed powerful cameo appearances in Twenty20, including two unbeaten innings against India before Christmas and a 10-ball 32 against South Africa at Edgbaston last September.
At some stage the ODI format will test his ability to construct a longer innings - something a List A average of 56.89 suggests he can do - but at the moment he is concentrating on giving some impetus to the latter stages of England's batting effort.
"The other strength of my game is trying to be destructive at the end of the innings," he said. "It's something I have done for Somerset in the last couple of years and hopefully it's something I can bring into the international game."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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