Sunday, 4 September 2011

Jos Buttler Keeps

It's easy to forget that Jos Buttler is actually a wicket-keeper. Coming into Somerset's side after Craig Kieswetter had made the gloves his own, Buttler's had to settle for playing solely as a specialist batsman. Averaging over 68 in List A cricket, with an astonishing strike rate of 147 per 100 balls, Buttler is certainly an England player in waiting - indeed he is a current international having made his debut against India last Wednesday.

A modern cricketer sometimes needs a couple of strings to their bow in order to succeed, and Buttler's wicket-keeping could set him apart from the group of talented young limited over players all making their names in county cricket at the moment. However, Craig Kieswetter's seemingly permanent place behind the stumps at Taunton means that Buttler isn't able to show off his glovemanship, and that extra element to his game may be forgotten about.

Kieswetter's technique has led to question marks all the way through his international career, and it would only take a few low scores for the doubters to grow ever louder. England have a long list of potential wicket-keepers for the limited over formats (Matt Prior's position as test stumper being impregnable for the time being), with Steve Davies, Jonny Bairstow, Phil Mustard and even Middlesex's John Simpson (although I may be a little biased on that front) all putting forward excellent cases for their inclusion this season.

Kieswetter is currently away with the England ODI squad, which means that Buttler's been given the chance to don the gloves for Somerset's CB40 semi against Durham, and by all accounts Jos has performed tidily. Those in the know see Buttler's excellent technique as far superior to Kieswetter's shaky one, and it's fairly obvious that Buttler is the better long term prospect internationally. It's not uncommon for ODI teams to give the gloves to any old member of the team (de Villiers, Trescothick, Dravid anyone?) in order to shoehorn in the players that they want to, and while Davies, Mustard, Bairstow, Kieswetter and Simpson (don't forget him...) all keep wicket for their respective counties, we may see a situation where someone who fields at deep square leg for Somerset is given the gloves for England.

It's a tout, and an outlandish one considering the talent that is currently in front of him, but I'm expecting Jos Buttler to have ousted Craig Kieswetter as England's limited over keeper by next summer. Or at least taken over from him as Somerset's number one stumper...

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