Buttler raring to go
Jos Buttler will head into the new domestic season brimming with confidence after playing the best cricket of his career in the winter.
The wicketkeeper-batsman failed to make the desired impression during the four matches – a one-day international and three Twenty20s – he played for England against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
That, though, has not detracted from what was a positive period for Buttler, who shone on the Lions’ tour of Sri Lanka.
He struck two centuries and failed to pass 40 only once as England’s second string beat their Sri Lankan counterparts 3-2 in a five-match series.
Buttler ranks those efforts as the best of his short career to date and is looking forward to further enhancing his burgeoning reputation with Somerset this season.
Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, he said: “I was really pleased with the way the Lions stuff went - I batted as well as I think I have so far in my career.
“All in all it’s been a really good winter - I have come a long way and hopefully I can take that into the new season.”
After impressing with the Lions, Buttler earned a call-up for the seniors as they tackled Pakistan and appeared likely to play in the opening one-day international.
However, a hand injury struck at an inopportune time and the 21-year-old had to wait until the final encounter - at which point England were already 3-0 up in the four-match series - to get his chance.
“I was really looking forward to Dubai,” he added. “But I got a bit of an injury at the wrong sort of time.
“It’s hard to say (how much it set me back) but it did a little in terms of the fact I was not able to play a full part in a lot of the practices or bat in full comfort, but that is professional sport.
“Injuries happen and if it were to happen again, I think I would be in a much better position to deal with it having had that experience.”
Things did not quite go to plan thereafter, with Buttler’s signature scoop shot twice proving his undoing as he failed to make an impact.
Yet despite his struggles, the Somerset man remains positive – especially having been given the opportunity to train and play with star names like Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook.
“It was a really good experience,” he said. “Being in and around that environment is really exciting.
“Being around those guys, like Pietersen and Cook who were excellent in the ODIs, can only be a good thing.
“Watching these guys operate, seeing the way they operate and being able to pick their brains is a great opportunity.
“From just watching and learning about the way these guys go about their business is a great way to learn and improve myself.”
The conditions Buttler enjoyed in the Middle East are a far cry away from those he is currently experiencing in the UK with his Somerset team-mates – not that he is complaining.
"It’s been a bit cold and nippy,” he admitted. “But pre-season has been good so far.
“Everyone is so excited to be back together as a group and get outside again - even though the weather is a little bit interesting; the bowlers have some nice friendly pitches to work with.
“We went on a team-building weekend as well, which was a good experience and we are just looking forward to the matches starting.”