Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Timing Right for Recalled Buttler to Help Restore Some Pride

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Timing Right for Recalled Buttler to Help Restore Some Pride

Article excerpt

Byline: cricket Will Macpherson Cricket Correspondent

ENGLAND have recalled Jos Buttler to Test cricket at exactly the right time to galvanise a dressing room that had become deflated in the wake of a dreadful winter.

Buttler is a leader and thrilling cricketer and is felt to have the force of personality to help restore morale. When the squad linked up on Sunday, they resolved to start afresh, to train harder and with more purpose. They backed that up yesterday, with one of the longest training sessions players could remember.

Buttler says he cannot recall being in such good touch, whatever the colour of the ball. Given Pakistan's inexperience and the moves in the batting order by Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, allowing what Buttler variously called a "luxury pick" and a "spare position", and the start of England's summer should help to banish memories of the tours of Australia and New Zealand.

It will be interesting to see how Ed Smith and England use that No7 spot moving forward. With Ben Stokes and Bairstow in the top six, there is scope for flexibility. Perhaps in the subcontinent and on spinning wickets, Moeen Ali could slot back in as a second spinner. Or perhaps, at the right moment, it could be used to blood a new batsman like Joe Clarke or Liam Livingstone.

For now, Buttler is the right choice.

Many felt his talent had been lost to Test cricket but he still prized the longest form above all others. The retirement of Kevin Pietersen actually reminded him of its value. All the talk then was of KP's great Test innings the Oval 2005 and the 2012 trio of Colombo, Headingley and Mumbai not the short form smasher.

"(Sky's Ian Ward and David Lloyd) were talking about his career, and all they spoke about was his Test match knocks his hundred against South Africa, his hundred at the Oval in 2005, Mumbai or Sri Lanka," said Buttler.

"He played some fantastic white-ball knocks but for those guys it was Test matches they were talking about and I think people still feel Test matches are the real true test of cricketers. …

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