Jos Buttler says he would relish tackling cricket’s ultimate multi-tasking test as batsman, wicket-keeper and captain should England’s regular skipper Eoin Morgan fail to be fit to lead the side against Afghanistan at Old Trafford.
The vice-captain is ready to again take on the ‘huge honour’ of international captaincy for the 11th time in his career after Morgan suffered a back spasm during England’s emphatic ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup win over West Indies at Southampton.
Yet the prodigiously gifted Buttler reckons that if he has to step in to the leadership role behind the stumps, it will be a seamless transition.
“I would be chuffed to captain the team - but I’d rather Eoin was fit to play,” said Buttler, who says his own fitness is fine now that he’s recovered from a hip issue.
“Hopefully, not very much would change. I’ve played under Eoin for a long time, I think he’s a fantastic captain and someone I’ve tried to learn off.
“As vice-captain, I’ve talked to him a lot about the game and we have got similar views, so I think it will be a very similar style.
“I would relish it. If I have to captain, then it’s a huge honour any time you get to do it. I think that from behind the stumps you get a fantastic view of what’s going on and it’s down to yourself to manage the two jobs and separate them as much as you can.
“For that 10 seconds each ball when you have to be a wicket-keeper, then do that job to the best of your ability. Then, outside of that, allow yourself to think about the game.”
“He’s going to be one of the best players of our generation in all formats of the game” 👊 pic.twitter.com/HBbmfhfE0y
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) June 15, 2019
Buttler is no stranger to the role, having captained England in six ODIs and four T20Is over the past four years. He’s led six victories, topped by last summer’s crushing of Australia in Cardiff when he hit a dazzling unbeaten 91 off 70 balls.
But his four defeats included a shock loss to Bangladesh, so he will be wary of the possibility of presiding over another huge upset against Afghanistan at Old Trafford.
“We’ve done our research and it’s good to have played against them in a warm-up game (which England won by nine wickets); they’re a very talented and dangerous side,” warned Buttler.
Though England have no nominated deputy to the vice-captain, Buttler thinks the in-form Joe Root, vastly experienced as England’s Test captain, will be ‘a great person to lean on’ for advice.
“I don’t think it matters too much who’s the official vice-captain because we’re a tight group who share ideas and are very good at sharing information and coming up with ideas,” he added.
As for his multi-tasking, Buttler has one more job he’s become quite adept at off the field over the last two months, as a new dad to baby Georgia Rose.
Yet the only reason he’s getting any sleep, he smiles, is down to the sterling efforts of his wife Louise, who’s taking on all the night duties.
England fans will feel they owe her a serious debt then if Buttler continues the sort of blistering form that had Shane Warne noting this week: “How would I bowl at Buttler? I would happily give him a single and get the other bloke down the striker’s end!”
Asked about the praise from the Australian great, Buttler just smiled ruefully: “Oh, I know Warney from the Rajasthan Royals, he’s probably just pumping my tyres….”
No, he wasn’t. For like everyone else, Warne can see that the modest Englishman really is one of the most remarkable and destructive performers the game has yet seen.
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