After taking England to a series win with his unbeaten 54-ball 77 in the second T20I against Australia, Jos Buttler revealed that opening the innings was his “favourite position to bat” in T20 cricket, while reiterating that he is comfortable lower down the order too.
Buttler’s T20 batting position has been the subject of extensive debate, given his proficiency both down the order and at the top. As an opener, Buttler averages 51 in T20Is, having scored 459 runs in 10 innings, including scores of 44 and 77* in the ongoing series.
“It probably is my favourite position to bat in T20 cricket,” said Buttler. “I’ve had most of my success in T20 at the top, but that’s natural – if you bat in the top three in T20, it’s the best place for everyone.
“We’ve probably got eight or nine guys who’d stick their hand up to bat in the top three; I’m very happy there, but I’m also very happy to do whatever the team needs of me.”
Buttler was bumped up to the opener’s role in 2018 after 53 T20I innings in the middle order – since the promotion, he’s compiled four fifty-plus scores at a strike-rate of 157.73. Skipper Eoin Morgan, who announced that Buttler would open the batting in the T20Is against Australia, said that the team “will continue with this until we feel the need that it’s not working.”
Buttler, who is likely to open the batting for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, which follows Australia’s white-ball visit, said that the experience of playing in the middle order over the years had helped him stay flexible for any batting role in the team.
Jos Buttler's summer with the bat so far:
Tests: 416 runs @ 52.00
T20Is: 121 runs from two innings; SR: 145.78
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) September 6, 2020
“I’ve played a lot of my career – T20 and one-day cricket – batting in the middle, so I’m very comfortable doing that as well. It’s really for the coach and captain to decide,” said Buttler.
“We’ve got lots of strength in depth; it’s something that is the mark of good teams, good players fighting over positions and that will serve us well going forward.
“It was a great feeling to be able to walk off at the end, having won the game for your team – obviously a big game for us, with the chance to win the series, which we were determined to do.”