Tag: Jos Buttler (page 1 of 2)

Jos Buttler’s feud with Bangladesh – who started it?

Jos Buttler of England bats during the Royal London One-Day Series 2014 match at Lord's Cricket Ground, London Picture date Saturday 31st May, 2014. Picture by Sarah Ansell. Contact +447860 461617 cricpix@yahoo.co.uk

Jos Buttler is not an overtly angry man. Few batsmen better expose the fallacy that attacking cricket and on-field aggression are somehow symbiotically linked.

As a batsman, Buttler demolishes via controlled explosions. He delivers a series of well-timed detonations and more often than not, the opposition implodes. Yet as a bloke, he makes you recalibrate the entry criteria for ‘softly-spoken’. It seems almost too obvious to point out, but his demeanour is as placid and undemonstrative as the professionals from whom he illiterately takes his surname.


In the second one-day international against Bangladesh, Buttler misplaced his rag. It’s usually as ever-present as that tatty red one Steve Waugh used to keep in his pocket, but when the Bangladesh players celebrated his wicket at him, he moved towards them and gobbed off rather than exiting the stage in silence.

At the post-match press conference, Buttler apparently suggested there was ‘history’ between himself and Bangladesh, but didn’t elaborate on that. This is the smartest thing to do because that way fans of both teams can conclude that the other side is in the wrong and everything can escalate until it no longer matters what precipitated the hatred, it only matters what happened most recently.

If you’re wondering what did happen most recently, it’s either Tamim Iqbal spurning Buttler’s handshake or Ben Stokes’ reaction to that, depending on which side of the argument you want to position yourself. The person who uploaded the YouTube video entitled Shame on Stokes: Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler Have Dishonest Behaviour With Tamim Iqbal is, we’ll assume, a Bangladesh fan.

There is a cricket angle to this too, by the way

Buttler also said, “Maybe you don’t know me as well as you think you do,” when asked whether this was the first time he’d lost his temper playing for England. That may be so, but it’s also fairly obvious that up until now he’s done a grand job of maintaining an unflustered exterior.

Whatever the cause, this was a plain old loss of control and anyone who thinks Combative Jos will be more effective than Glacial Jos clearly hasn’t been paying attention.


How many players choose to become a one-format specialist?


Photo by Sarah Ansell

Stuart Broad wants to state his case for inclusion in England’s one-day side. Unfortunately for him, this is difficult as he doesn’t actually play one-day cricket. According to Ali Martin, Broad’s played one 50-over game for Nottinghamshire in the last 18 months.

The opposite applies to Jos Buttler, who is keen to return to the Test side. He somehow needs to make red ball runs to get back in, but the only way we can see that happening is if he paints one ahead of a limited overs game.

Then there’s Eoin Morgan, who’s basically just given up – he says he’s averaged three or four first-class games a year for the past six years and can’t see that changing. That’s not actually a huge amount more than we play and it’s a problem that’s doubtless compounded by being dismissed for single figure scores in the first couple of matches while he tries to remember what’s what.

Other than pigeons, few voluntarily enter pigeonholes. We’ve long had players retiring from one format to prolong their lifespan in another, but the specialist threshold seems to have shifted in recent times. If players in their prime are not exactly being forced to choose, then they are at least allowing themselves to be funnelled down a particular path because it’s so much bloody effort to do anything other than that.

The impact of this on fans is significant and appalling: it means we have to try and remember more cricketers. If we were interested in paying attention and remembering lots of things, we’d have gone and got a law qualification or something.

Jos Buttler and the myth of a batsman’s ‘natural game’

Jos Buttler of England bats during the Royal London One-Day Series 2014 match at Lord's Cricket Ground, London Picture date Saturday 31st May, 2014. Picture by Sarah Ansell. Contact +447860 461617 cricpix@yahoo.co.uk

Photo by Sarah Ansell

After watching Jos Buttler hit over a third of the deliveries he faced for boundaries against Pakistan, it’s tempting to wonder whether maybe, just maybe, he might do well to shelve his watchful, deliberate approach to Test batting. It seems to us that he’s much, much safer at the crease, and far more reassuring for England fans watching, when he’s just standing there spanking sixes, all bionic eyes and adamantium wrists.

The responsible approach

For Buttler, getting down on one knee and ramping the ball over the wicketkeeper is ‘playing responsibly’. When he tries to play the ball on its merits, he suddenly looks all too frail. Forget it, Jos. Most people have to respect the bowling, but you don’t. In fact it’s very much advisable that you don’t. Disregard the merits of the ball, disrespect the bowling. We promise to vilify you if you’re dismissed playing a forward defensive stroke and we’ll overlook all caught-at-cow-corners.

But how you persuade a batsman to employ such an approach is another matter altogether. It’s not like England are telling Buttler not to bat like this. We daresay someone involved with the side’s noticed that he plays rather better when he’s liberated. The problem is you can’t just say ‘play positively’. We’ve covered this before. You somehow need to persuade the person in question that this is what you want and that they will benefit from that approach. Even if those are a given, as they perhaps are in this case, it’s still not an easy matter putting it into practice.

The myth of ‘his natural game’

Test matches are different. The range of possiblities is far greater and your range of options as to how to approach an innings is far greater. One-day cricket – particularly in the later overs – is gloriously simple. There is no batting clarity quite like the batting clarity you have at 300-4 with five overs to go.

People often talk about a batsman’s ‘natural game’. Strikingly, they rarely refer to a deadbatting grinder when they use this term – it’s always the quick-scorer. This leads to many people concluding that when such a batsman isn’t lofting every third ball into the stands, they’re somehow having a different approach imposed upon them.

It happened in the World Cup when many assumed that Peter Moores wasn’t allowing certain batsmen to ‘play their natural game’. This was bollocks. He didn’t tell them not to – quite the opposite – he simply failed to create an environment in which they felt free enough to do so. The gleeful carnage is not the default. It’s only natural in certain circumstances.

Which brings us back to Test cricket

With so many options, so many ways of unpicking the puzzle before you, a batsman can find himself caught in some noncommittal middle ground in Tests (and shortly afterwards, he might find himself caught in a more literal sense.) One of the keys to Test batting is to find a way of navigating all of this; of somehow imposing clarity on your own brain.

The main thing preventing Jos Buttler from taking his one-day batting ability into Test matches isn’t the coach or ‘management’ – it’s Jos Buttler’s brain. If you think that the brain is an unnatural extra element when it comes to the act of batting, then yes, it is indeed preventing him from playing his natural game.

The other way of looking at it is that Jos Buttler isn’t so naturally predisposed to the thought processes necessary for Test cricket as some are. He might bat like some otherworldly warlock in the shorter formats, but he’s naturally confused and awkward when presented with more options. Hopefully he can learn to overcome this. Jos Buttler’s unnatural Test batting would certainly be worth waiting for.

Is it okay to drop Jos Buttler?

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Yeah, why not? It’s not like he’s scoring any runs at the minute. We’re also a great believer in the redemptive power of “I could do better than that.”

Have you ever found yourself believing you weren’t qualified to carry out a given task, only for someone else to complete it in your stead and do a really shitty job? Other people being crap at things is a real confidence booster.

Ideally, Jonny Bairstow would come in and do an excellent job as England wicketkeeper. Then again, he might not. In that event, Jos might well think: “I may have an odd first name and one too many Ts in my surname, but by the Beard of Grace I had my moments in Test cricket. Maybe I could have more moments.”

At that point, he’d turn into Sanath Jayasuriya only with more hair.

Plus it’s not like he’d be fully dropped, sentenced to 300 hours of county cricket. He’d still be in the team for the shorter formats where everything seems so effortless for him. Without Test failure grinding him down, we have every reason to believe that Buttler would at some point return to being England’s best one-day batsman.

Once he has, and having been vastly superior to his team-mates for a period of time, he’ll doubtless start to feel pissed off about not playing the longer format. Mark our words, a surly sense of being unjustly overlooked combined with poor form from your replacement is the recipe for Test success.

Jos Buttler wearing an ice bra

We think that’s what it is. Or maybe it’s just a conventional sports bra and therefore entirely normal.


The image comes from an ECB video that’s largely about how hot it is in the UAE. Jos appears shortly after Mark Wood has said: “We’ve had lads grabbing ice and putting them in strange places.”

We like that ice is a ‘them’ to Wood.

All those ices. So many ices. Maybe he considers them people.

We just want to watch Jos Buttler bat

Whatever his keeping’s like and no matter whether or not he’s ‘ready’ for Test cricket, we’re very pleased that Jos Buttler is now in England’s Test team. We like skittishness in a number seven batsman.

It is always worth watching Buttler at the crease and when he bats with Ian Bell, you stand a decent chance of seeing pretty much everything decent that a batsman can do. The wicketkeeper’s contribution to today’s 106-run partnership was robust, impatient and ever-so-slightly unhinged. Bell’s was sleek, but increasingly ambitious, as if he gradually came to see new possibilities which had been somehow left unheralded by the fat square cut of Gary Ballance.

It was declaration batting and clearly that is currently what Buttler is best suited to. It may only be one box ticked on the ECB quality control checklist, but surely the ‘counterattacking’ box is also awaiting ink. Those would present reasonable foundations on which a 23-year-old Test cricketer might build.

Should Jos Buttler bat at five?

We've already seen one 'the Buttler did it' headline

Let’s overlook all the trivial details, like the omission of England’s best Twenty20 batsman and the retirement of their best-ever Twenty20 bowler (one name in particular crops up very frequently in this list) and instead focus on whether Jos Buttler should emerge with England 26-3, 32-4 or 38-5.

It might seem like quibbling with someone’s use of indicators as they fly down the wrong side of a dual carriageway, but set it aside. Let’s just, for a moment, assume that everything else is fine and pretend that this is a really big issue.

This is troubling us because we internally contradicted ourself. We’ve always thought that Twenty20 batting orders should be pretty much best-to-worst from one to eleven. With so few overs available, you might as well make the most of what you’ve got. Then, when Jos Buttler came in at five yesterday, we thought: “No! What are you doing? Jos Buttler should come in with four overs to go to do whatever the hell he likes.”

Does this make sense? Surely if he comes in earlier he can hang around a bit, play normally and then still do whatever the hell he likes with four overs to go? It’s just that we don’t really want to see him build an innings. He’s so spectacularly good at pulling one out of his arse in an instant that earthly innings construction seems to miss the whole point.

Also, it’s reassuring to have a wildcard down the order. Look at DJ Sammy‘s performance yesterday.

England beat some Australian players

Jos Buttler playing for a side he doesn't play for

Although, admittedly, you could just as easily say that some England players beat some Australian players. England were down a Pietersen and an Anderson, but Australia were down a Clarke, a Warner, a Watson, a Haddin and we can’t actually be bothered working out who else would be in the first eleven. If they were using a handicapping system, Australia probably still won.

But let’s not quibble

England won a match. Furthermore, Ben Stokes went from bringing about some sort of six-shower from James Faulkner a couple of matches ago to bowling six dots at him and conceding just a single run before dismissing him. That’s progress, that is. Stokes also found time to hit 70, batting at three.

The future is here; the future is Ben Stokes putting in top performances in consolation wins.


The future is also Jos Buttler, the fastest bat in the West and the most insanely watchable England batsman since Eoin Morgan was a novelty. You want to see a bat flourish? Jos is your man. Sometimes hitting the ball is just a dull preamble to that follow-through.

Buttler hits fours and sixes that literally defy expectations. As often as not, your initial response upon seeing him go for a shot is to internally scream: “Don’t take swing at that one! It’s not right for the shot!” only to see the ball sail into the stands after a bizarre contortion and an insanely fast blur of willow. It’s bleached-clean hitting and his bat appears to only really have a middle. We’re slightly in love with him.

His audition to become England’s next Test wicketkeeper is going pretty well, but hopefully they leave him to pretty much just do what he’s doing for the time being.

Auditions for the role of England wicketkeeper

Jos Buttler and England's next wicketkeeper

Jonny Bairstow got to play a couple of Tests against a dominant team, having not kept wicket for about half a year. Strangely, he didn’t hugely impress. That, combined with Matt Prior having been cut by the thunder, means there is now a significant Jos Buttler subplot to these one-day internationals. How’s it going so far?

Well, he’s batting at eight. ‘Finishing’ is Buttler’s job and he only really needs to be in for about 10 overs in order to impress, but even so, this smacks of giving your most exciting batsman little chance to make a stronger case for himself. Prior will hopefully score some first-class runs early next season, rendering all of this irrelevant, but there needs to be a Plan B and if it’s not Jonny Bairstow and it doesn’t turn out to be Jos Buttler, what is it? It’s probably flailing around, picking whoever happens to have played okay in May before going back to Bairstow for a bit, just cycling through options until one sticks.

These matches will also see bowlers auditioning for the role of third seamer in the Test team. Chris Jordan probably won round one. One for 50 is a win these days.

We wait on the Buttler

If you report on player transfers before they’ve been confirmed, you’re starting out on a slippery slope. Next thing you know, you’ve got a section of your website called ‘transfer gossip’ which wastes people’s time telling them about things which won’t happen.

We’re not sure exactly where we’re up to with Jos Buttler’s move to Lancashire. They’ve been talking about it for weeks. We thought it had been confirmed yesterday, but then the article in question began: “Lancashire will confirm on Monday…”

Confirmation that there will be confirmation. Is that n0t confirmation in itself? Probably not. Confirmation isn’t what it used to be.

The most important development is that in writing the title for this post, we seem to have settled on calling the man at the centre of things ‘The Buttler’.

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