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Buttler makes the impossible seem probable

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'England have never had an ODI batsman like Jos Buttler' (3:46)

Melinda Farrell and George Dobell discuss a new-look England side who blew away New Zealand in the first match of the ODI series at Edgbaston. (3:46)

This was a day that for English one-day cricket offered hope and joy for the future. At the heart of this success was a century of the highest quality from Jos Buttler. Exactly a week since he showed his resilience in the Test defeat at Headingley, he produced an innings that demonstrated his vast range of strokes - there were boundaries within all eight spokes of the wagon wheel - his fearlessness and his skill. England may well never have had a limited-overs player like him.

There is much to admire about Buttler. There is the calm that allowed him to face 28 deliveries before he struck a boundary around the time England slipped to 202 for 6. There is the power that allowed him deposit bowlers far over the boundary if they strayed even fractionally in length. There is the class that enabled him, on numerous occasions, to turn good length balls into half-volleys with deliciously timed drives through the covers. And there was the selflessness that saw him, on 95, risk the personal milestone to tread over to the off side and scoop a leg stump delivery to the fine leg boundary.

There is a likeable modesty about him, too. A quietly-spoken bashfulness that masks an inner steel. He is Hugh Grant off the pitch and Hugh Jackman on it. He would murder you with impeccable manners and a bumbling apology. It seems safe to assume that alongside Joe Root and Ben Stokes (a trio that are, despite their relative experience, among the youngest in this squad), Buttler will be at the heart of almost everything good that happens in English cricket in the next decade. He is exactly the sort that will regain the love - the trust, even - of the public.

Buttler, like the rest of this young England squad, grew up inspired by and developed in T20 cricket. He was 12 when the format was introduced in county cricket and, as an athlete who shone across several sports (he played rugby in the schools final at Twickenham, he won the 100 metres at school and, underlining the fact that sometimes life just isn't fair, he gained As in all his GCSEs), he employed the innovative stokes the game inspired from the beginning. He isn't learning new tricks; he's playing his natural game.

Born and educated in Taunton into a close-knit cricketing family, Buttler was destined to be a cricketer from the start. Born by an emergency Caesarean section, Buttler's mother was driven past the county ground in Taunton by police escort on the way to the hospital.

Nurtured at Kings College Taunton by Dennis Breakwell, a member of the Somerset teams that also boasted Ian Botham and Viv Richards, Buttler broke into the senior county side at 19 and was soon creating a stir not just for his runs, but the manner in which he made them and the circumstances in which they were made.

He seemed to thrive under pressure. As a 19-year-old, he hit two England bowlers - Stuart Broad and Ryan Sidebottom - for 55 in 23 balls to win the semi-final of the T20 competition, the following year he made 86 from 72 balls in the 40-over final and then made a 61-ball century - the fastest in England's ODI history - against Sri Lanka in 2014.

Even in England's last ODI defeat - the match against Bangladesh that sentenced England to an early World Cup exit - Buttler stood above as he top-scored with 65 from 52 balls. As recently as Friday, he produced a masterful innings of 71 to help his new club, Lancashire, overcome Yorkshire in a T20 match that logic said was long gone. He makes the impossible seem probable.

His change of gear is remarkable. With such a range of shots, he knows that, once he is underway he is very hard to control so is happy to bide his time. Here, after 21 deliveries, he had scored only 14. Which means, from his next 55 balls, he thrashed 115 runs with 13 fours and five sixes. England have been on the wrong end of such assaults quite often. Very, very rarely have they inflicted such damage.

It was intriguing to watch how Buttler's aggression turned the tables on New Zealand. Suddenly they were the side under pressure and, while they did not exactly buckle, their composure certainly showed some cracks. Buttler was reprieved, on 90, when Ross Taylor at deep midwicket dropped a chance he would expect to take, while Adil Rashid was put down by Brendon McCullum on 43.

Even McCullum's field placements started to look too clever by half. Twice the ball dissected the keeper and a slip placed wide as firstly Root and then Buttler showed that, in this format at least, fortune does tend to favour the bold. And had an England captain set such a field? They would surely have been dismissed as clueless. Sometimes the momentum of a narrative finds facts to fit.

But such habits can be changed. Moods can be changed and lifted. And though there will, no doubt, be days when this new England come unstuck, if they play like this, the bad days will be bearable. The public can be won back and a new audience can be won over by cricket's unique charms. Buttler and co. may just prove irresistible.