9:41am Wednesday 13th November 2013
JOS Buttler is desperate to establish himself as Matt Prior’s natural successor – and he believes his switch to Lancashire could unlock the test-match door.
The 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman took little time to graduate from prodigious talent to international cricketer during his Somerset days.
With 19 ODIs and 25 T20 internationals under his belt already, Buttler is firmly established as one of England’s most potent weapons in the game’s white-ball forms.
But Lancashire’s newest recruit appears some distance from cracking the test-match nut, in no small part due to the presence of Prior, arguably the best keeper-batsmen in the world.
Craig Kieswetter, another man who is no stranger to the England set-up, was the cause of Buttler’s limited opportunities with the gloves at Taunton.
And though he leaves his boyhood county with a heavy heart the opportunity to work with Lancashire head coach, and former England chief, Peter Moores was too enticing.
“I don’t want to just be pigeonholed as a one-day cricketer,” said Buttler. “With some strong performances for Lancashire in first-class cricket, a weight of runs is never going to be ignored.
“If I keep improving my keeping and my all-round package and then if the chance ever came I hope that I would be in the position to step in.
“He (Moores) has got a wide variety of experience and he can impart that on me, his knowledge of the game and also his challenging nature and work ethic.
“That as a package is hopefully going to turn me into some cricketer.
“One of the important things when you go into a new team is to gain that trust and respect of your team-mates and the dressing room by producing an innings or a performance that really stands out.
“It is a really strong squad and with everyone performing well it is a title-challenging squad.”
Buttler believes there are plenty of wise and experienced personnel at Old Trafford to help him improve his all-round package in four-day cricket.
“I’m focusing on my four-day game really, batting-wise, and obviously a continuation of my keeping and taking that to the next level,” he said.
“This is a really good breakdown for me of working on those specific skills that are going to help me in the first-class game and hopefully bridge that gap to test cricket.
“When that comes to fruition – I might be able to crack it instantly in a couple of weeks or it might take a bit longer – you’re trying to make that journey and that process as quick as possible.
“Ashwell Prince is obviously someone who has played some test cricket.
“He is a well-established international cricketer and with the knowledge I am sure he has, I will try and pick his brains a bit.
“I think it is good to talk to bowlers sometimes about how they view the game and you start picking bowlers’ brains about what I actually need to combat as a batter. Someone like Glenn Chapple will be invaluable for that.”
Follow the England Performance Programme squad and their progress this winter at www.ecb.co.uk/epp
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