Joseph Charles Buttler
September 08, 1990, Taunton, Somerset
Right hand Bat
England have had many players down the ages who have gained world acclaim, but Jos Buttler is arguably their first global Twenty20 superstar. Buttler helped bring England's limited-overs batting into the 21st century, his impact on the one-day and T20 sides extraordinary as they turned a group-stage exit in the 2015 World Cup into a triumph on home soil four years later, with his efforts with the bat and the gloves crucial to their Super-Over victory in the final. In an 18-month period from mid-2014, he scored what at the time were England's three fastest one-day hundreds - thrilling innings against Sri Lanka at Lord's, New Zealand at Edgbaston and, topping the list, a 46-ball onslaught against Pakistan in Dubai. He has also shone at the IPL, and has quickly become a senior player in the Test side since his surprise recall in 2018.
Softly-spoken and unassuming, with supple hands and a great eye, Buttler kills opposing attacks with kindness, with a graceful flip shot for six over long-on and the occasional resort to a nerveless ramp shot over the wicketkeeper among his most eye-catching shots in an inventive repertoire. Like his captain, Eoin Morgan, his unflustered response to even the most daunting run chase is one of his greatest assets, his steely resolve hidden beneath a benign exterior. Such was his impact for Mumbai Indians in his first appearance in IPL in 2016, capable of mayhem late in the innings, that for a young cricket follower in India with only Twenty20 in their heart, it was possible to imagine that England had rarely, if ever, produced a player of such star quality.
Buttler was in the crowd at Taunton as a young spectator during the 1999 World Cup when India's Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid thrashed what was then the highest partnership in ODI cricket. He was hooked. Somerset gained special permission from the ECB to add him to their Academy at 12, two years early, and he came to prominence as a 19-year-old in the 2010 season for Somerset, especially in the one-day arena where his clear-minded and quick-footed aggressive batting helped him to 440 CB40 runs at 55.00. He made his first-class debut against Lancashire at Taunton in 2009 and became a regular in the County Championship from May 2010 - playing a part in Somerset's title challenge that season. He combined in particularly potent fashion with Kieron Pollard in Somerset's run to Twenty20 Finals Day in both 2010 and 2011, and impressed in the 2011 CB40 final, making 86 from 72 balls in Somerset's defeat to Surrey.
He made his international debut in late 2011 and became a fixture of England's T20 side. A first ODI appearance came against Pakistan in the UAE during the winter, though he had to wait almost a year for his second cap, this time as wicketkeeper. When Ashley Giles took over as limited-overs coach one of his first key decision was to ditch Craig Kieswetter for Buttler on a tour of India. With Kieswetter still preferred as Somerset's gloveman, it was that rivalry that caused Buttler to leave his beloved West Country and switch to Lancashire for the 2014 season. Lancashire saw him for 10 Championship matches, but it was soon apparent he would be making only fleeting visits in the future.
England looked to him for impetus and increasingly he delivered, striking 99 against West Indies at North Sound and kicking off the 2014 ODI summer with a first hundred against Sri Lanka at Lord's as he led a failed run chase virtually single-handed. When Matt Prior became stricken by Achilles trouble - what proved to be a career-ending injury - the selectors gambled by throwing Buttler into the Test team. He scored five half-centuries in his first eight Tests, including 85 on debut against India at the Ageas Bowl, but his form faltered and he lost the gloves to Jonny Bairstow on England's tour of the UAE in 2015-16, during a period where his keeping started to make necessary improvements but his batting slip away.
There were no such doubts about his place in the white-ball teams. His seniority was recognised when he was named Morgan's vice-captain for the 2015 World Cup and, although that tournament was an unhappy one for England, Buttler was a key member of the side that reached the final of the World T20 a year later. His dynamic batting was emblematic of England's one-day reinvention under Morgan, though he also began to demonstrate increased range to his game - when he led England to an extraordinary one-wicket win over Australia at Old Trafford in 2018, his unbeaten 110 from 122 balls was by far the slowest hundred of his career.
Amid increasing demand on the T20 circuit, which included spells in the Bangladesh Premier League and Australia's Big Bash, Buttler's Test star seemed to be waning. He was briefly recalled in India in 2016-17 but then spent more than a year on the fringes, and was even overlooked as Bairstow's back-up during the following winter's Ashes tour. However, his stellar form for Rajashtan Royals in the 2018 IPL - he equalled the league record for consecutive fifties - prompted Smith to pick up the phone. Impressive contributions against Pakistan followed, and then, at long last, a maiden Test hundred, recorded in defeat to India at Trent Bridge. Suddenly, Buttler was integral in all three formats once again.
He remained integral to the 50-over side building into the World Cup, and started the tournament itself in flying form with 103 off 76 balls in a defeat against Pakistan and a quick half-century against Bangladesh. But time at the middle was limited through the rest of the group stage, and England were so dominant in the semi-final against Australia that he was not required. In the final, his skill in run chases came to the fore: coming in with England wobbling at 86 for 4 in a chase of 242, he kept them alive with 59 off 60 balls in a 110-run stand with Ben Stokes, and while he could not see them home, he managed seven runs off three balls in the Super Over, and completed the run-out of Martin Guptill to win England the trophy.
The highs of World Cup success were quickly forgotten, as Buttler cut a tired figure over the next six months. He struggled for runs in the Ashes and in South Africa, and with Bairstow and Ben Foakes breathing down his neck, it seemed a matter of time before he would lost his Test place. He responded with a breathless 75 off 101 in the home summer against Pakistan to seal a run chase at Old Trafford, before grinding out his highest Test score - 152 - in the final match of the series. By this stage firmly ensconced as England's T20I opener, he continued to lead from the front in their bid to hold both World Cups simultaneously.
Batting & Fielding