Jos Buttler played his last First-Class game on 22nd October in a test match for England against Pakistan in Dubai – making just seven runs. A modest Ashes series and the re-emergence of Jonny Bairstow led to Buttler being dropped for the last match of the Pakistan series, and the tour of South Africa later in the year. Jonny Bairstow’s sensational red-ball form during this summer has cemented his place in the test side, and due to England duty with the white-ball, mixed with unfortunate injuries whilst playing for Lancashire – he is yet to make his comeback against the red ball.
This week, playing against Middlesex in the penultimate game of the county season, he makes his comeback. Some think that the Lancashire man should only play white-ball cricket for England, whilst others argue that he is too much of a talent to keep from playing all formats. One thing is for sure, he has enjoyed a blistering year. Buttler has scored 1,006 runs at an average of 59.18 between November 2015 and September 2016, blasting six half-centuries and two hundreds.
Here are five performances when Jos Butter was at his brilliant best:
1) 116* (52) – vs Pakistan (Dubai) – 20th November 2015.
Recently after being dropped from the test side, Buttler answered his critics in unbelievable fashion as he smashed England’s fastest ever ODI ton, beating his previous two records made against New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Promoted to number four, the destructive wicket-keeper batsman came to the crease with England 194-2 off 35.3 overs after Jason Roy notched his first ODI ton. Buttler stole Roy’s thunder somewhat as he took apart the Pakistan attack and produced a quite outstanding hundred off just 46 balls, with ten 4’s and eight 6’s – England eventually finishing on 355-5. It was a sign of things to come.
2) 105 (76) – vs South Africa (Bloemfontein) – 3rd February 2016.
After securing a historic test series win in South Africa, it was time for the one-day team to be unleashed on the Proteas. Jos Buttler responded in perfect fashion after again being promoted to number four to take advantage of another solid start to the innings. On this occasion, England were only 130-2 as the innings was just 17.4 overs old when Buttler was trusted to inject further emphasis into the innings – one wonders how long it will be until Buttler cements his place higher up the order. During a slightly more measured innings, he made 105 off 76 – including eleven 4’s and five 6’s. England eventually finished on 399-9 – their highest overseas score in 50 overs.
3) 66* (37) – vs Sri Lanka (Delhi) – 26th March 2016.
England’s t20 World Cup campaign was well underway after thrilling wins against South Africa and Afghanistan, and a narrow defeat to Chris Gayle…..sorry, the West Indies. Buttler had made contributions of 30 and 21 respectively, but had yet to produce a match-winning performance. Step forward his most favourite opponents – Sri Lanka! After coming in with the innings slightly in trouble at 65-2 with half the overs already bowled, England’s talisman produced a masterclass as he smashed eight 4’s and two 6’s to propel his side to a solid 171-4. If there is one area Buttler needs to improve, it would be to score more valuable runs in high pressure situations, and not just score when runs are already on the board – this innings certainly proved he is capable of exactly that.
4) 93 (99) – vs Sri Lanka (Trent Bridge) – 21st June 2016.
During the first 50 over game of the summer, Jos Buttler continued his remarkable form. Unlike many games in the past year, England did not achieve a solid start as they were reduced to 30-4 when Buttler came to the crease. He made one of his more mature innings in a high pressure situation while still maintaining a high strike rate that only included six 4’s and one 6. England eventually made 286-8, and with a little help from Liam Plunkett, tied the game.
5) 73* (49) – vs Sri Lanka (Ageas Bowl) – 5th July 2016
You guessed it….Sri Lanka again! In the final game of Sri Lanka’s tour, England continued their experimentation of the batting order as Buttler was promoted to open with Jason Roy. The promotion paid off as the ever-improving wicket-keeper batsman knocked off half the runs as he cruised to 73* off just 49 balls and took England home to win by eight wickets.
Too Good to Keep Down.
Jos Buttler’s extraordinary year goes further than these five matches. Other notable performances include the 49* in Sharjah and 48* in Port Elizabeth to win matches for England after coming in at difficult times, and the 90* at Trent Bridge just a couple of weeks ago – which was the fastest ever 50 by an England player. As a player who can open the batting, inject emphatic emphasis at any time of the innings, and finish games off from any situation – all while keeping wicket, it is hard to believe a talent such as Jos Buttler will be kept out of the test match side for much longer.