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‘Success on Test return was a bit of a surprise’ – Jos Buttler

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Jos Buttler, the England batsman, said that the success he had on his return to Test cricket in the series against Pakistan was a “bit of a surprise”, but added that he took considerable satisfaction from knowing he could switch between formats as quickly as he did.

Buttler had been playing in the IPL with Rajasthan Royals – he scored five consecutive half-centuries for the franchise – when the Test call-up came. He subsequently turned out for his first Test since December 2016, not having played red-ball cricket all year, and finished the two-match series as the highest run-getter, with 161 runs at an average of 80.50.

“I think, in a way, it has been a bit of a surprise,” said Buttler. “Up until now, it was unheard of in England to pick someone who hasn’t been banging the door down in red-ball cricket. Or even playing it. It’s a new way of selecting someone and I don’t think anyone knew how I was going to do or play.

With 161, Buttler finished the Test series against Pakistan as the highest run-getter

“So, it’s really satisfying to know I can make that switch between formats. Maybe in the past, I made more of that switch than there I needed to, really. The basics of the game are similar. As long as you can control the mental aspect of it, the actual technique and things look after themselves.”

Butter’s next assignment for England will be against Australia in a limited-overs series, having been rested for the clash against Scotland on Sunday, June 10.

For Australia, it will be their first bit of cricket action since the ball-tampering incident in March, but Buttler expected the visitors to cope well and be competitive under the tutelage of Justin Langer, their new head coach.

“Maybe verbally they may be less aggressive, but I don’t think tactically or cricket-wise – they’ll still be an aggressive side in that sense,” he said. “I was just starting out at Somerset when Justin Langer was the captain there.

"I was just starting out at Somerset when Justin Langer was the captain there" - Buttler

“I was just starting out at Somerset when Justin Langer was the captain there” – Buttler

“He’s obviously a really successful coach in Australia and some of the mantras he lives by I saw a little bit at Somerset. They will be a highly-organised, disciplined, competitive team with a hard-nosed edge. They will still have that side, it’s international cricket, it’s hard and competitive.

“I think they’re coming, as well, with a bit of a point to prove and to put (the ball-tampering incident) behind them and start playing cricket again. I expect a really tough series and tough cricket on the pitch.”

On the topic of sledging, Buttler was on the fence – it’s a “hard area to judge,” he said. “Everyone determines the word ‘sledging’ differently. People always say ‘you know where the line is’ but whose line is it?

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