JOS BUTTLER seems certain to keep his place for the Second Test even though England are “lucky” to have a brilliant reserve in Ben Foakes.
Buttler flattered to deceive once more with scores of 35 and nine in England’s four-wicket defeat against West Indies in the First Test and now has one fifty in his last 21 innings.
His transformation from a brutal white ball batsman – one of the best in the world – to an unsure Test performer is difficult to fathom.
Even head coach Chris Silverwood says Buttler is wrestling with the dilemma.
Silverwood said: “I’m sure Jos is asking himself the same question. He looked brilliant in practice coming into the First Test and played well in the first innings. He just needs to go and make those big scores now, doesn’t he?
“From our point of view, it’s making sure he feels confident in the environment. We’ll give him the best chance to succeed. Hopefully, he’ll get some runs and the rest will be history – he’ll go on from there.”
Buttler has one century (in a losing cause) in 42 Tests while Foakes made a hundred on his debut in Sri Lanka in late 2018. But he was dropped later that winter and has not played since.
Silverwood added: “I’m not going down that road yet of putting Jos under pressure because I don’t think it will help him. So, first and foremost, I want to give Jos the best opportunity to succeed.
“But you’re right, we have a very, very good gloveman in Ben Foakes and we’re lucky to have him.”
Joe Denly is poised to make way for the returning captain Joe Root at Old Trafford on Thursday.
Silverwood explained: “We’re all desperate to see Joe Denly do well. He’s trying hard, he’s training hard. He’s a great bloke but, obviously, he’s under pressure a little.
“I think Zak Crawley showed maturity and played a very good innings in Southampton. We have some young players who seem to have good heads on their shoulders and he’s one of them.”