Tests are still best says Jos Buttler ahead of England return against Pakistan
Test cricket is still Jos Buttler's holy grail.
Lancashire’s Buttler, a sensation in this year’s Indian Premier League, may already be at the top of his sport as far as many global cricket followers are concerned.
But as he contemplates returning for England against Pakistan at Lord’s this week on his third attempt at a Test career, the 27-year-old is in no doubt which format holds the key to greatness.
Asked if Test cricket remains the ‘ultimate’, he said: “Yes, it is - and I think it always will be for players of my generation.
“You get that feeling talking to everyone that they still feel Test cricket is the best.”
Buttler references modern greats Virat Kohli, the India captain about to embark on a stint of county cricket to prepare for this summer’s Test series in England, and Kevin Pietersen.
He said: “Virat signing for Surrey to get used to playing in England, to play well in Tests, shows that in players’ minds Tests are still the pinnacle.
“It was really interesting when Kevin Pietersen retired.
“Sky’s Ian Ward and David Lloyd were talking about his career and all they spoke about was his Test match knocks.
“His hundred against South Africa, his hundred at The Oval in 2005, Mumbai or Sri Lanka.
“He played some fantastic white-ball knocks. But for those guys, it was Test matches they were talking about and I think people still feel Test matches are the real true test of cricketers.
“I won’t leave with any regrets if it doesn’t work out but I feel like the best players can play all formats.”
As Buttler prepares for a return after 18 months away he is determined to trust his instincts having last played a Test for England in India back in December 2016.
His return at number seven is the work of new national selector Ed Smith - Buttler’s Rajasthan Royals mentor Shane Warne was a vocal advocate too - and it comes with a brief to bring his can-do white-ball approach with him.
Reflecting on a Test absence which was threatening to become terminal, he said: “You always think maybe that race is run and will never happen again.
“Turning up here on England duty to play a Test match is unbelievable.”
One of the world’s most powerful and inventive batsmen, Buttler is determined to be true to himself this time.
He added: “It is about trusting my instincts and not fighting them.
“In the past, I have potentially felt as if I had to play in a certain way or be something I am not.
“I have learned a lot about myself over the past two years.
“If you are going to fail, fail in a genuine way - not someone else’s way.”