3 June 2014

Jos Buttler isn't ready to keep for England in Tests

I couldn't believe it when I heard Michael Vaughan saying last night on Vaughan and Tuffers that he thought Jos Buttler should be picked for Test cricket if Matt Prior isn't fit.   And he said that picking Foster would be a huge step backwards for England.

As you can tell by the fact that I didn't even include Buttler in the list of possibles for a keeping spot, it didn't even occur to me that he could be in with a shout...his keeping just hasn't been good enough for Test cricket in ODIs and Twenty20s.   And more to the point, the man himself doesn't think he's ready, and his captain doesn't think he's ready.

It's been reported that Peter Moores thinks he's in the frame, but if you actually read what Moores said, it sounds like a coach who simply wants to encourage someone for the future.

“When you look back in history, not every player is perfectly ready when they play,” said Moores. ­“Sometimes they develop in the formats which they go to.
“I think Jos would quite rightly say, ‘I’m not the finished article’ and he wouldn’t be - not many people are. The key is whether it is the right time to introduce him to Test cricket.
“Obviously Jos has been talked about a lot and how he played the other day hasn’t done him any harm - it was a fantastic innings.
“If Matt’s fit he’s a very strong contender. Jos is improving quickly and I thought he kept well so he has certainly pushed his name forward.
“I don’t think you want to be set in stone and you never want to put ceilings on people. People do have moves. He’s improving and it was great to see him play like that.
“If that’s enough to get into the Test team, then we’ll sit down and talk about it.”

So perhaps Buttler should have been on the shortlist but I just can't see him squeezing in.   There is a precedent for "successfully" bringing in a batsman keeper when they weren't ready to keep in Test cricket and for them to improve out of sight....Mark Boucher.   He really was a poor keeper when he started but South Africa stuck with him and he was quality at his peak undoubtedly.   But, although I don't know, I suspect the difference is that South Africa didn't have a James Foster, someone with a legitimate claim to being the best out and out keeper in the world, waiting as a possible alternative.

I will despair if England pick Buttler for the 1st Test!

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