JOS Buttler might have overtaken Jonny Bairstow as England’s go-to wicketkeeper, but the Somerset man insists his Yorkshire counterpart’s international career is far from over.
As soon as veteran Matt Prior announced that he was calling time on his England career, few would have bet against anyone other than Bairstow from picking up where the three-time Ashes winner left off.
But Buttler’s limited-overs form would change all that and after getting his chance to carry that over to the Test arena last summer he has not looked back.
Bairstow, meanwhile, has been reduced to merely a water carrier for England, although he did produce a timely reminder of what he can do with a knock of 98 against a St Kitts XI at the beginning of April.
Since then, the 25-year-old made 102 and 59 in a county clash with Hampshire, before adding scores of 50 and 66 in a draw with Somerset.
He might have been overlooked for England’s one-day series with New Zealand, but Buttler – who is again first choice for the Three Lions’ white ball side – believes Bairstow still has plenty to give on the international stage.
“Jonny’s record has been consistent ever since he started playing for Yorkshire, he’s an excellent player and an excellent wicketkeeper,” said Buttler, speaking as he launched Royal London’s summer of cricket, which includes the first Royal London One Day International, starting on Tuesday June 9 against New Zealand.
“What you get with English cricket now is that there is a lot of competition for places.
“He’s obviously still in contention. He was on the West Indies tour so he’s right in the forefront of everyone’s minds.
“In the wicket-keeping role I’ve got to make sure I perform well enough so he doesn’t come knocking for my place.
“He’s played a lot of Test matches as a batsman only as well. He’s a fantastic cricketer and I’m sure he’s got a lot of international cricket ahead of him.”
Despite Sam Billings being called up to the England ODI squad in his place, Bairstow’s white ball season started with a bang as his 40 not out helped Yorkshire down Derbyshire last month.
And that could be good news for the Yorkshire star with Buttler revealing his impressive form is down to not over-thinking what form of cricket he is playing in.
“I probably understood my one-day game a lot better than I did red-ball cricket to start with,” he added.
“Frustratingly it’s taken me a lot longer to understand Test cricket and for a long time I saw them as two different games. Whereas now I’m trying to just play one game and have the same kind of mindset no matter what the situation.
“That seems to have given me a lot more success, and where I bat in the side you have to be ready to go in in a whole variety of different situations.”
Jos Buttler was speaking at the launch of the Royal London Gilbert Cup, a new grassroots U11 cricket tournament. www.royallondoncricket.com