IPL form leads to England star Jos Buttler's Test return for Pakistan series

David Cooper - Writer 19:09 15/05/2018
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Buttler has been in scintillating for in IPL. Image: BCCI.

Jos Buttler was rewarded for his stellar performance in the ongoing Indian Premier League with a return to England‘s Test squad at the expense of James Vince.

England’s new national selector Ed Smith announced a 12-man squad on Tuesday to face Pakistan at Lord’s next week, in which there is no place for Vince. There was also a potential debut for Somerset off-spinner Dom Bess.

Vince’s match-saving, unbeaten double-century for Hampshire on the eve of the selection meeting seemed sure to keep him in the frame – but Smith has instead been persuaded by Buttler’s wonderful run of form at the Indian Premier League.

Buttler, who played the last of his previous 18 Tests in December 2016 but is an inked-in white-ball player for his country, will be back as a specialist batsman – with Jonny Bairstow retaining the wicket-keeping gloves.

Twenty-year-old Bess, whose opportunity comes after his Somerset team-mate Jack Leach broke his thumb in the nets on Monday, has made just 16 first-class appearances to date.

England’s new national selector Smith believes it is “the perfect moment” to reintroduce Buttler to Test cricket. Buttler has smashed five fifties in a row in the IPL for Rajasthan Royals.

Smith said: “Jos Buttler is an outstanding talent, who is already a central part of England’s white ball teams. The selection panel feels that this is the perfect moment to reintroduce Jos to Test cricket, where he has already enjoyed some success, including a stint playing as a specialist batsman at number seven.

“Jos is playing with great confidence and flair, and he will bring unique qualities to the Test team.”

England Test squad:

Joe Root (c), James Anderson,  Jonny Bairstow (wk), Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

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