Jos Buttler will open for England as they seek to add victory over Australia in the one-off Twenty20 clash at Edgbaston to their one-day international series whitewash.
Buttler, man-of-the-series after his brilliant unbeaten century in Sunday’s one-wicket win at Old Trafford, has opened for England just once before in T20s – when he made 73 not out against Sri Lanka in Southampton two years ago.
He has been a revelation at the top of the order this year with a string of half-centuries for his Indian Premier League franchise Rajasthan Royals.
Asked if a plan was in place to move Buttler back up the order today, England’s acting head coach Paul Farbrace said: “Definitely, yes there is. He will open tomorrow.”
Fromer Yorkshire coach Farbrace, in charge here and for the three-match Twenty20 series against India while Trevor Bayliss takes a short break, explained England want in-form Buttler to bat for as long as he can.
“In 120 balls in an innings, you want to get your best strikers facing as many balls as possible,” he said.
“The form he’s in, the way he’s playing, it makes sense to get him at the top of the order.”
Buttler has understandably earned rave reviews following his Manchester heroics.
Farbrace added: “He’s using the experience he’s gained to make himself more consistent, whatever colour the ball, whatever form of the game.
“On Sunday, I thought that was as good an innings as I’ve seen him play for England – probably on a par with the hundred he got in Dubai against Pakistan.
“One was exciting shots and just pure skill, and the other day he showed how much he’s learned, how much calmer he is at the crease.”
Assistant coach Farbrace’s short stint in sole charge is being seen by some as a possible audition for the role permanently when Bayliss steps aside after next year’s World Cup and Ashes summer.
He said: “I don’t see it as an opportunity for me. I just see it as an opportunity for the players to keep playing well.
“I don’t think the next 10 days are necessarily about me at all really.
“(Eoin Morgan) is captain – he’s the focal point of our team, and whoever is here looking after the side it’s our job to make sure we support him and guide him.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be an acting head coach a couple of times before, thoroughly enjoyed it, and my goal is to make sure that nothing really changes.”
Asked if he believes he may eventually succeed Bayliss, he said: “Who knows?
“Even if I was lucky enough to be considered come next September, then that would be a great position to be in.
“I count myself very fortunate even to be in this position, as an assistant coach to the England team.
“I wasn’t good enough to get anywhere near it as a player, so to be involved as a coach is fantastic.”
Australia’s Twenty20 captain Aaron Finch is confident there will be no hangover from the one-day international series whitewash defeat against England.
The tourists suffered a historic 5-0 loss in the ODI series and Finch acknowledges collective confidence was dented by the hammering – but he is encouraged by an influx of players with “no baggage”.
“We had a debrief and ... we’ve put a bit of that stuff to bed,” Finch said. “As a T20 team not a lot needs to be said – we have new faces to bring fresh energy, guys that have no baggage. It’s a great opportunity to get out there and strut our stuff in a format we have had success in.”
Five-time World Cup-winners Australia have hit a 34-year low ebb at number six in the ODI rankings - which are topped by England - but in T20s they are second and the hosts fifth.
Finch added: “In the one-day format the confidence was definitely affected.
“England put us on the back foot from the word go, and we weren’t able to catch up.
“But we’ve had success in this format, from seventh in the world to first or second - which is a great achievement - and (we’ve) done it with mixed-and-matched teams.
“We’re getting more settled ... I don’t think there will be anything to worry about in this format.”