It may well be a bit premature to call the rest of his international career, but if Jos Buttler’s Test career follows in the same manner of his maiden innings with the bat, he could well become a world-class wicketkeeper batsman – who is up there with the greats of the game.
The Lancashire keeper transferred his ODI talents to the longer format of the game with a knock of 85 runs from 83 balls, whilst he also took three catches in his first innings behind the stumps on debut in the third Test against India at the Ageas Bowl.
At the height of Australia’s dominance of the game in the late 1990s and early 2000s they had match winners sprouting out of their kit bags, but Adam Gilchrist’s explosive knocks down the order so often made the difference between winning a drawing a match.
His fast-scoring ability was recognised with his opening of the batting in 50-over cricket,
whilst he was preserved further down the order when donning the white and baggy green in the Test arena.
Scoring freely with a high strike rate is such an important skill for an ambitious side to possess. It allows them to take the game by the scruff of the neck, and force a higher
lead that immediately puts pressure onto the opposition.
Buttler has already exhibited his expansive bat wielding talents in limited-overs cricket for England, and recorded respectable scores of 32 and 34 against New Zealand and South Africa respectively at the World T20 in Bangladesh earlier this year.
His position of number five in the order might not be where he stays in One-Day cricket in the future. It will be interesting to see how he fares against the new ball at the top of the order.
However, as his maiden century (121 from 74 balls) against Sri Lanka at Lord’s earlier this summer showed, he can punish some of the world’s greatest bowlers. Earlier that day, he also dismissed Kumar Sangakkara for 112 with a smart stumping.
Prior’s downfall is Buttler’s gain
The poor run of form experienced by Matt Prior provided the 23-year-old with his first Test cap, an opportunity he looks to make the most of.
Prior had a similarly explosive start to his five-day tenure, but Buttler – with youth on his side – can further stamp his place in the side with further performances like we’ve seen in Southampton.
Competent glove work and aggressive batting can turn him into one of the most feared opposition wicketkeepers in the world, an asset that could return England back to the summit of the ICC Test Rankings.