Jos Buttler, England’s quiet captaincy

Buttler gave Test cricket a good go, playing 57 matches long before he effectively gave himself over to the shorter formats

Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler, England’s quiet leader

Jos Buttler already has a special place in English cricket given his fame and reputation owe far more to his exploits in white-ball cricket than the traditional Test-match game.

But he will cement his status as an England limited-overs great if he leads the side to a successful defence of their one-day international World Cup title in India, having helped them be crowned 50-over global champions for the first time on home soil four years ago.

Jos Buttler already has a special place in English cricket given his fame and reputation owe far more to his exploits in white-ball cricket than the traditional Test-match game.

But he will cement his status as an England limited-overs great if he leads the side to a successful defence of their one-day international World Cup title in India, having helped them be crowned 50-over global champions for the first time on home soil four years ago.

But just two hundreds from 100 Test innings told its own story.

By contrast his 11 ODI hundreds are the most of any active player who bats at No.4 or lower, with nine of those hundreds coming in victories.

And when Eoin Morgan, the driving force behind England’s white-ball revolution stood down from international duty last year, Buttler was the obvious choice to take the reins.

– ‘Respect’ –
He had been vice-captain for seven years and with England desperate not to over-burden multi-format stars such as Ben Stokes, it made sense to put Buttler in charge given he had already led England in 14 matches.

“Jos has been an unbelievably good vice-captain while I’ve been captain,” Morgan said. “When he’s stepped in he’s been an exceptional leader, and within the group he commands tremendous respect.”

A calming influence within the squad, Buttler may not have the obvious steel of Morgan or the gambling leadership instincts of Stokes.

But the modern 50-over game, with its powerplays and fielding restrictions, limits the scope of most captains.

And Buttler is quite happy to leave any visible flamboyance to his batting.

“At school, the louder guys are the cooler ones or have the most friends or seem to be most popular,” he said last year.

“You leave school and realise what a load of rubbish that is. Some of the best leaders I’ve played for are incredibly inspiring, even if they’re not loud.”

Buttler heads into this year’s showpiece in India, a country he knows well from his time in the Indian Premier League, having already led England to the 2022 T20 World Cup title.

And for Buttler it is the immediate challenge posed by the tournament rather than what it means for his place in cricket history, that is the driving force.

“A lot of us have played a lot of cricket together for a long period of time…we’ve had some really good memories along the way already,” He told reporters this week.

“It’s something new in my eyes, it’s a new World Cup, a chance to try and do something else and win a tournament and have a great time doing it.

“I don’t feel like we go out there with any added pressure of trying to cement a legacy, we’re just looking forward to the tournament and what will come of that.”

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