Jos Buttler believes he is now ready to step up to Test cricket ahead of his likely debut against India at the Ageas Bowl.
The 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman had suggested earlier this summer that he was not yet sure whether he was ready to make the step up, despite forging a growing reputation in the shorter formats for England.
Any second thoughts have had to be put on hold following Matt Prior’s decision earlier this week to take a break from the international game due to injury.
As expected Buttler was called up as his replacement for the third Investec Test and, while he admits he is not yet the finished article, the Lancashire keeper believes he has the mentality and international experience to make a smooth graduation into Test ranks.
“I think maybe mentally I’ve got over the fact that I’m closer to playing Test cricket than I thought I was at that stage,” he told ecb.co.uk.
“I’m probably far from the finished article, I know that, and I don’t think anyone would be at this stage of their career.
“I’m really happy with where my cricket is and I’m just delighted that I’ve got this chance and I’m determined to enjoy it.”
Buttler is obviously no novice on the international stage – he has 69 limited overs matches worth of experience to draw on – and he walks into a dressing-room where he is well known to his team-mates and backroom staff alike.
“I think it is a good stepping stone for me that I’ve played international cricket,” he said.
“I’ve had some highs and lows in Twenty20 and one-day cricket as well so I know a little bit. It helps that I know the set-up and I know the backroom staff and the players so I don’t have those things to get over before Sunday.
“Having those friendships and the trust of people in the dressing room will aid me to have some chats to people and try and get some advice on how best to take on Sunday.”
The Ageas Bowl is also a friendly venue for him to make his debut, with the Southampton ground holding fond memories.
“I’ve had some good days on this ground,” he said.
“My first first-class hundred was here and I’ve had some exciting Twenty20 finals days with Somerset here as well.
“Usually when you come here you get a pretty good wicket. I like the place and obviously it will be a place that holds some special memories for me come Sunday morning.”
Despite all the feel-good factor Buttler can draw on, he knows Test cricket will be a full examination of his game and hardly expects India, who lead the five-match series 1-0 after their success at Lord’s, will offer him much generosity.
“I don’t think anyone really steps into (Test cricket) and sets the world alight straight away. I’m not really expecting to do that – it would be great if I could,” he said.
“I think it is down to me to remember what I’ve done to get this far and what has helped me in my county career and in limited overs cricket for England to perform and to transfer that into Test cricket.
“It’s obviously a step into the unknown a bit for me because I’ve never done it before.
“I’m determined to just try and enjoy the occasion. At 23 years old to be potentially making my Test debut on Sunday is something that I probably didn’t think I would get to quite so quickly.
“It’s going to be an immensely proud moment on Sunday playing for my country in a Test match.”