Jos Buttler will provide England with a ‘different dynamic’ as he prepares to play his first Test match in 18 months, says Joe Root. National Selector Ed Smith confirmed on Tuesday that Buttler, 27, would return to the Test team for the first match of the summer against Pakistan. Buttler’s last last Test appearance came against India in December 2016 but he has earned a recall, largely thanks to a superb run of performances in the Indian Premier League.
He scored a record-equalling five consecutive fifties in the competition for Rajasthan Royals before returning home early with Ben Stokes to prepare for the English summer. ‘I think Jos is a fantastic player,’ said Root, who will bat at number three against Pakistan. ‘He has done some great stuff in the recent past in the IPL and in the one-day team and he brings a different dynamic to the team moving forward in that number seven role.
‘He can go and express himself at seven and Jonny [Bairstow] will move up to number five. ‘He has had a fantastic winter, it’s a bit more responsibility given to him, which excites me, and it is a step in the right direction for this side.’ Root has previously shown a reluctance to bat at number three in Test cricket but says he is now ‘excited’ by the challenge. England’s captain averages 44 at three as opposed to 52 at four. ‘I am excited, I have had a bit of experience there a couple of summers ago against Pakistan and flirted with it in the winter in New Zealand,’ he added.
‘I am excited for that challenge, taking that responsibility, leading from the front and getting out there as soon as possible.
‘I’ll try and make those starts really count and kick on from those 50s and 60s I have been getting and get really big hundreds.’ Bairstow, meanwhile, insists he is ‘delighted’ to be promoted up the batting order. At seven, he was often stranded during the Ashes and unable to show his class. The 28-year-old ended a difficult winter in superb form, scoring back-to-back ODI centuries against New Zealand.