Buttler eager to make his mark
Jos Buttler is the youngest member of a new big-hitting generation England are hoping can help them at last get the better of India.
Named only in the Twenty20 squad, Buttler has been with the one-day party throughout the miserable run of five successive defeats against their hosts.
He is not scarred by the experience, though, and is keen to demonstrate improvement can emerge from adversity if he gets his chance to bat in Saturday’s tour-ending clash in Kolkata.
“Everyone’s very determined,” said Buttler, who turned 21 only last month and remained in India after Somerset’s Champions League T20 campaign ended at the semi-final stage.
“We’ve got one last chance - nothing really to lose and an opportunity to express ourselves in the Twenty20 format.
“Good experiences and bad experiences, if you use them correctly, can only benefit us in the future.
“You can learn a lot from the games. But that’s gone now. We have a Twenty20 on Saturday. The fundamentals of cricket will be the same, and it will be down to who can adapt the best.
“You don’t turn into a bad player overnight. There are some very good cricketers there. When you look to the future there are plenty of exciting young cricketers looking to push on.”
Buttler’s precocious talent, principally as a batsman but also a wicketkeeping prospect, has taken him a long way very quickly since he played the first of his 106 professional matches to date little more than two years ago.
Yet he has had to be patient since being fast-tracked into England reckoning. He was not required to bat as his first two of just three Twenty20 caps so far coincided with easy victories, and was summoned as cover for the NatWest Series win over India in Cardiff last month - only to end up watching fellow late call-up Jonny Bairstow wow the crowd with a swashbuckling debut innings.
He is not taking his selection for granted, in what is likely to be a near 65,000 sell-out at Eden Gardens, but said: “Every opportunity you get to impress people like that, you’ve got to take.
“It is a challenge. It is probably the easiest job to get picked in the squad. But once you get picked, then you’ve got to try to perform at that level.
“I hope it will be packed out. In the domestic competitions in England - the big finals - I really look forward to playing in front of bigger crowds."
The fact Buttler, like Bairstow, offers options with the gloves can only benefit England, although he does not expect to dislodge Craig Kieswetter, the current incumbent and his Somerset team-mate, any time soon.
Buttler has seen enough of Kieswetter, who hit a run-a-ball 63 before England collapsed in the fifth ODI at this venue on Tuesday, to expect great things.
“He’s a fantastic player,” Buttler said. “Having seen him at Somerset, I know what a quality cricketer he is - and it’s a matter of time before he comes off again.
“He played brilliantly the other night at the top of the order, and I’m sure there’s more of that to come.
“That’s the way the wicketkeeper role has developed - you have to be more of a batsman. You’ve got people coming to the fore with their batting, who can also keep wicket.
“Jonny’s been playing these five games just as a batsman. You’ve got the options, with everyone fighting for one spot potentially.”
England, who today visited the Future Hope School for street children, are also expected to include Alex Hales - another player called upon for only the T20 - on Saturday.
They will be led by Graeme Swann - as they were in two matches against the West Indies last month - in the absence of injured Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad and his deputy Eoin Morgan. One-day skipper Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott have returned home.
England may well be without Kevin Pietersen, who missed the final ODI after fractuirng a thumb in the previous match in Mumbai.
A team spokesman said: “He will have a fitness test tomorrow. He is still very doubtful for Saturday.”