Belfast Telegraph

Jos tipped to pass test with flying colours

 

By David Clough

England's new national selector Ed Smith believes it is "the perfect moment" to reintroduce Jos Buttler to Test cricket.

Buttler made a surprise return to Smith's first 12-man squad to face Pakistan in the first of a two-Test series at Lord's next week at the expense of James Vince.

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 in the Indian Premier League.

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."

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 wicketkeeping gloves.

Opener Mark Stoneman hangs on to his position and there is also a potential debut for Somerset off-spinner Dom Bess.

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.

Smith said: "Dom Bess has made an excellent start to his first-class career. He has impressed everyone with his performances for Somerset and England representative teams.

"With Jack Leach missing out due to injury, the selection panel wanted to invest opportunity in a young spin bowler. Dom's strong form, character and all-round abilities presented a compelling case for selection."

Belfast Telegraph

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