Pakistan v England, 4th ODI, Dubai November 20, 2015

Buttler banishes the blues in stunning style


After smashing his own record for England's fastest ODI hundred of all time, Jos Buttler admitted he was at a loss to explain his stunning turnaround in fortunes, only three weeks after losing his place in the Test team following a moribund run of scores.

Buttler's unbeaten 116 from 52 balls propelled England to a total of 355 for 5, their highest score in an overseas ODI, and secured them a memorable 3-1 series win in the UAE. It included a century from 46 deliveries, 15 better than the 61-ball hundred he made against Sri Lanka at Lord's in May 2014, while his tally of eight sixes was the most by any England player in a single ODI innings, beating Andrew Flintoff's seven against West Indies at Lord's in 2004.

"To play like that is really satisfying after a very lean period," Buttler told Sky Sports after the match. "I don't really understand how it can turn around so fast, but it was a great day and to win the series over here is no mean feat. Everyone has enjoyed that win."

Buttler had cut a forlorn figure for much of England's tour of the UAE. He played in the first two Tests but was dropped after scores of 23, 4, 0 and 7. Since the start of the Ashes, his highest score in Test cricket had been 42, in the fifth Test at The Oval, and the confidence had ebbed away alarmingly from his naturally ebullient game.

"I think the format change came at the right time for me," he said. "It freed me up in one of my best formats to go and play in. But honestly I don't really know [what caused the turnaround]. It's not that I've trained any differently, everyone has said I've maybe been a bit more relaxed with the white ball around, but I still train the same and still work hard."

Buttler was named Man of the Series following his exploits in Dubai, although he had not been an instant success in the first two games of the four-match rubber. However, he played an important role in England's run-chase in the third game in Sharjah, sealing the six-wicket win with an unbeaten 49 from 50 balls, and that was enough to encourage his natural style to return to the fore.

"I think the confidence from Sharjah [helped]," he said. "It's given me a lot to get the monkey off my back and actually do something. It's one of those days."

Buttler's self-belief was also aided by a canny promotion up the order by his captain, Eoin Morgan, who sent him in at No.4 following a fine stand of 140 for the second wicket between Jason Roy and Joe Root.

"That was all Morgs' decision," Buttler said. "I was sat next to him and he said 'do you want to go and put your pads on?' Obviously we had a great platform from J-Roy and Rooty who played fantastically well and it was great to get the opportunity to go in a bit earlier and chance my arm."

He did it to mighty effect, setting his innings up with a 30-ball half-century before flailing a further 66 from his next 22 deliveries, as England added 129 in the final ten overs of their innings.

"Quite a lot of it is predetermining," Buttler said. "You never want to get too one-dimensional. If they bowl it where you don't think they are going to bowl it, you try to have another option and not get too over-committed. Obviously a lot of shots are 100% pre-meditated, but you try to have a way out."

Buttler admitted he would have to take a few days to realise quite what he had achieved with this latest innings, and even joked that his thoughts had been closer to retirement than record-breaking in the preceding weeks.

"I'm really proud, and it will probably sink in over the next few days," he said. "It was so satisfying after what has been a tough time. I was thinking about retiring two weeks ago, so it's amazing how it turns around. That's why we play the game, to have those moments that live on forever."

He also paid tribute to the role of his fellow centurion, Roy, who was rarely at his most fluent in a 113-ball maiden ODI hundred, but established the platform for England's victory.

"What a feeling, you saw his celebration, fantastic," Buttler said. "He's played really well in the last two series and he really wanted that hundred. When he got past fifty he really took that responsibility to get that score for the side. That's brilliant from him, it looked quite tricky early on, it swung around a bit, and I'm sure we'll see him kick on to be a fantastic player."

Ultimately though, Buttler said that securing a series win in the UAE was more significant than any individual feats. "It's about winning," he said. "It's great having talent and being a young group but we do need to win and we've come here and done it. The confidence it gives the dressing room and the group of guys, you can't underestimate that. There's a World Twenty20 coming up [in March] and we are building a really good side."

Trevor Bayliss, England's head coach, was equally astonished by what he had witnessed from Buttler. "I'm not sure I've got the words for what I saw tonight," he said. "It was unbelievable batting, and it wasn't just slogging either, it was very some good cricket shots and some shots that aren't in the coaching manual."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. He tweets @miller_cricket

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on November 22, 2015, 8:49 GMT

    @HRIS - I see there was a point to your comment after all. Forgive me for thinking you may be trying to rile Pakistan and Eng fans at the same time but you didn't mention what Jos said in the initial comment. Yep , it probably isn't quite like how Jos put it but to be fair he probably hadn't studied Pak's ODI home form against the better sides and maybe he also saw it as being respectful to Pak by saying what he said. It maybe doesn't bode well for the country's relationships if he said something like "Yeah but Pak in UAE is easy". But well done for picking this up and thanks for the positive comms once more

  • Utpal on November 22, 2015, 5:59 GMT

    @HRIS, yep, we know this, they are pathetic in their own den. but come on, dont share this. it will offend those Pakistanis who still believe their Pop-Gun attack is still best. So sticking to Butler topic. Yep, he is invaluable, ENG have been searching for a batsmen with really High SR and respectable Avg. and they have found one. Whats more he is a WK too. Moeen seems to be good addition too. ENG would need to give a longer rope to players who have ODI/T20s as their priority. I also agree that ENG is an underrated ODI team but thats probably because English fans has a habit of proclaiming loudly that Test is much superior to ODIs and frankly ENG struggles big time in ICC tournaments. However with right time and singular focus and trust on right players they may reach the level of SA, NZ(in ODIS) if not AUS

  • Hrishikesh on November 22, 2015, 4:01 GMT

    @JG2704 Buttler said "to win the series over here is no mean feat". Actually it's been pretty one-sided ODI series in Pak. Since 09 when there have been proper bilateral series against Pak in UAE, only SL has lost to Pak(twice). Aus, SA, Eng, NZ have all beaten them multiple times. In that period Eng, NZ and SA have won 2 ODI series in UAE. Aus has won all 3. Basically they've lost 9/9 ODI series against Aus, SA, Eng and NZ in UAE since 09. I'm guessing no other team barring WI has a worse record in ODI's at home(UAE which it is for now whether they like it or not). And WI never have their first choice team in ODI's and Tests.

  • Nicholas on November 21, 2015, 19:21 GMT

    I always thought Woakes (& Stokes for that matter) had more potential for test cricket instead of short formats, so like JG2704 I'm not sure where you're going with that comment VillageBlacksmith (post on November 20, 2015, 23:14 GMT). Anyway, comments seem to have closed prematurely for the game review, so I just wanted to say here congratulations to Buttler, & it was a bold move by England to give him a shot higher up the batting order. The big mistake that England will probably make now is assume that a good knock or two in short formats = great potential / back-on-track for tests. Maybe it's the standing around for longer in field wicket-keeping in tests; maybe as JG704 says, Jos just hasn't been able to decide how to play (attack vs. graft) in a lot of test innings; maybe he's just not sure of his role in the team? Whatever the reason(s), Buttler isn't exactly renowned for long formats & until we see improvements in those, perhaps it's best to keep him as short-format specialist.

  • Muhammad Ammar on November 21, 2015, 17:44 GMT

    Well done.... Great service of fans of cricket...

  •   Vaideeswaran Subbarathinam on November 21, 2015, 17:14 GMT

    I always wanted him to succeed as he is a very aggressive player and treat to watch.But he was falling in previous matches.I missed viewing his yesterday's knock as I was not aware.After seeing the flash in my mobile I could view England winning.It should have been amazing.

  • John on November 21, 2015, 16:30 GMT

    @VILLAGEBLACKSMITH ON NOVEMBER 20, 2015, 23:14 GMT - So just wondering - if we want a pacer/all rounder - who there is who is a definite better choice. Woakes' batting has fallen away a bit but his bowling in the CC (albeit not from that many overs) has improved. And he's averaging significantly more with the bat than with the ball which is usually the first stat you look for in an all rounder

  • John on November 21, 2015, 16:23 GMT

    @HRIS - Not sure what your comm has to do with the article but you can look up their record yourself. I see they beat Zimb in their last home series , lost to NZ and Aus in the previous 2 and beat SL previous to that. Was there a follow up point? You can check any team's records by clicking at the country and then somewhere usually about half way down the page you can access series results from any of the 3 formats. Hope this is helpful to you.;id=7;type=team

  • John on November 21, 2015, 16:14 GMT

    Agree with comms re leaving Jos as number 1 in the white ball stuff but I wonder if the selectors will now try and justify putting both him and Hales in the same test side - on the back of their ODI 100s - seeing it as an attacking approach - even though anyone who has studied Eng in recent years has seen that our white ball reputees seem to overcompromise so they neither have the technique to ride any rough periods or the intent to counter attack. Warner is a great example of a player who has taken away little fluency from his SF and succeeded with it. At times he has been criticised for being too full on but he would always be a danger. One thing I'll credit Morgan/Eng with is giving Buttler an opportunity with license up the order

  • Adinic on November 21, 2015, 15:37 GMT

    Always believed and still believe Jos Buttler is the best WKB around right now.

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