Thu, 09 Feb 2023

London [UK], December 8 (ANI): England white-ball skipper Jos Buttler has said that he is unsure about his return to the national Test side and added that he is currently enjoying his challenging role of leading his nation in ODIs and T20Is.

Buttler led his side to ICC T20 World Cup triumph last month, with a win over Pakistan in final.

In 57 Tests that he has played since his debut in 2014, Buttler has scored 2,907 runs, with two centuries and 18 fifties. In his most recent Test appearance during the Ashes against Australia, Buttler could score only 11 runs across both innings of the fourth Test.

In the Ben Stokes-led England side in the longer format, it is Ben Foakes who has solidified his status as England's wicketkeeper.

On his return to Tests, the batter said as quoted by Sky Sports, "We will wait and see, I do not know for the minute, to be honest.""I am really enjoying what I am doing at the moment, and getting the opportunity to captain the white-ball teams has been a great challenge and really enjoyable," he added.

The next thing that has Buttler and white-ball coach Matthew Mott's attention in is the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, which will be held in India.

Leading upto it, England has three-match series against South Africa in January and then two home series against New Zealand and Ireland in September before the start of the marquee cricketing event.

Buttler will be having 10 matches to fully establish his England side, which has to fill shoes of Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes, who have retired from international cricket and ODIs respectively.

"The attention turns to the 50-over World Cup and trying to think ahead and planning how we tackle that tournament. We have had a couple of retirements from the side, some stalwarts in Stokes and Morgan," said Buttler.

"We have got to work out how we fill that hole and give guys the opportunity to take those positions up and look to build a balanced team ahead of the tournament," he added.

Stokes, despite having retired from 50-over format, has not closed the doors completely.

Ahead of Test series against Pakistan, the all-rounder had said, "Who knows how I might feel towards a World Cup at the time?"He also revealed that the England Director of Cricket Rob Key had approached him after the side's T20 World Cup win.

"He pulled me to the side and as soon as he said '50-over World Cup' I just walked away," said Stokes. "Who knows? At the moment, being out here (in Pakistan), my focus is solely on this series," Stokes had said.

But Buttler is taking the "wait and see" route with Stokes, a man who played a key role in England's first-ever 50-over World Cup win in 2019.

"Ben, at the moment, has retired from ODI cricket and he has got lots on his plate captaining the Test team and obviously some exciting series coming up with the Ashes next year especially," said Buttler.

"We will just plan ahead and give guys the opportunity and things will work themselves out naturally. I think over the next six to eight months, guys will perform really well and put their hand up and try to stake a claim for those positions," added Buttler.

Buttler is extremely excited for return of pace spearhead Jofra Archer, who made a return to sport after a long time due to injury in warm-up match against England Lions last month.

Key had cautioned over rushing back Archer. Stokes is optimistic of his return to Ashes. Buttler also said that it would be fantastic to have Archer around in the side.

"Really excited for Jofra himself to get back to doing what he loves doing and playing cricket again. He is such a superstar of the game and we all love watching him perform," he said.

"He is such an X-factor player and an exciting player. For English cricket fans and for him himself to get back out there is fantastic for everyone," added the skipper.

The 32-year-old is all praise for the way Stokes led side has been playing the longer format, having won seven out of eight Test matches, with a thrilling 74-run win over Pakistan at Rawalpindi being their latest.

Buttler described the side as "exciting".

"I think every time they seem to play at the minute, people question if 'Bazball' will work in certain places and I thought they played brilliantly. They put a lot of pressure on Pakistan, without taking loads and loads of risk," said Buttler.

The white-ball skipper feels that this attacking, positive approach in Tests will attract more people to the longer format.

"I am sure there is a big chance of that, listening to the way the coach talks, they feel that is their duty and obligation to really entertain people and show just how talented they are. Cricket has changed a lot, and the introduction of the short form and T20 cricket has brought lots of excitement," said Buttler.

"And they are showing that in the Test form that you can do that as well. I think certainly as kids watching this sort of thing, a really exciting brand, you want to be part of that," signed off Buttler. (ANI)

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