Lancashire chief backs Jos Buttler to star for England in Ashes series
Jos Buttler has been backed to give Australia a taste of their own medicine during the Ashes by Lancashire’s director of cricket Paul Allott.
Buttler last week signed a new three-year contract with the Red Rose county and, on Thursday morning, is set to line up for the first Test of cricket’s greatest rivalry at Edgbaston.
The 28-year-old’s aggressive and inventive style of batting, even in the Test arena, will concern the Aussies, says Allott, much in the same way Adam Gilchrist used to strike fear into the hearts of England.
“He could light up any sort of series. He’s that sort of player,” said the former England bowler, now in charge of Lancashire’s cricket department.
“It was an inspirational choice by (national selector) Ed Smith just over 12 months ago when he got him back into the Test match side.
“Jos probably epitomises the modern game transfer of white-ball skills over to the red-ball game.
“He’s bright enough, clever enough and good enough to adapt his white-ball skills into Test matches.
“His record hasn’t been fantastic in first-class cricket but it still looks as if he’s almost the number one name on the sheet.
“He’s got that ability to take the game away from Australia, so they will be worrying about him.
“He very much plays the same role with the bat as Adam Gilchrist used to do for Australia. He’s a phenomenal talent.”
Compared to his batting averages of 40.88 in one-day internationals and 44.84 in all List A cricket, Taunton-born Buttler averages 35.87 in Tests and 33.04 in all first-class cricket.
England go into the five-match series as only marginal favourites.
“I think it will be tighter than a lot of people thought earlier in the summer,” said Allott.
“I never thought it was going to be as easy as some English followers expected it to be.
“Australia have got a really good fast bowling attack with skills right across the park. The re-emergence of Steve Smith and David Warner will obviously bolster them.
“I think it will be a good series and very close.”
The Ashes could, in theory, be decided at Emirates Old Trafford for the fourth Test, starting on September 4.
Before then, Buttler is due to return to his home ground a week on Friday for the Vitality Blast T20 Roses match.
He won’t be playing but, instead, will parade the ICC World Cup trophy he helped England to win recently.
Unsurprisingly, Allott is thrilled to have secured Buttler’s services for another three years at Lancashire, despite strong links with a return to home county Somerset or even London counties Middlesex or Surrey.
“Jos is one of the world’s leading players,” added Allott.
“He’s been a big influence in our dressing room and around the club. He’s also a flag bearer for cricket in the North West.
“Even though he may only be able to play a couple of games for us, what he does when he’s here rubs off on our younger players. And that influence is immeasurable almost.”
Lancashire are back in T20 action on Friday when they face Durham at Emirates Riverside (6.30pm).