Buttler raring to go
Jos Buttler headed to Sri Lanka on the crest of a wave after finally announcing himself as a force to be reckoned with in international cricket.
- Related Content
The Somerset batsman, 22, has long been considered one of the most exciting talents on the domestic scene but found his initial forays into the England side somewhat humbling.
A series of mis-fires marked his first few innings at the highest level, with a duck in his only one-day international against Pakistan and six Twenty20 innings yielding a total of just 36 runs.
But he showcased both his formidable power and an inventive range of shots in yesterday's 28-run win over South Africa in a rain-shortened 11-over clash at Edgbaston.
He hit three mighty sixes and a pair of impudent paddled fours to finish with 32 not out in just 10 deliveries as England squared the NatWest T20 Series 1-1 in Birmingham.
The eye-catching knock could hardly have come at a better time, on the eve of the squad's departure for the defence of their World Twenty20 crown, and Buttler was relieved to prove his credentials.
"I went out with a bit of a different approach, I think the situation dictated how to play and I'm really pleased to finally contribute to an England win," he said.
"International cricket hasn't quite gone as I'd have hoped but days like that are really pleasing and give me a lot of confidence for Sri Lanka.
"It was an innings I was desperate to play in an England shirt. I could take confidence from what I've done for Somerset but to do it on the international stage is a really proud moment.
"It's nice to repay the faith that people have shown in you but tomorrow is another day and I've got to get back to working hard so I keep asking questions of the captain and coach."
Buttler's assault on left-arm seamer Wayne Parnell saw the South African ship 32 runs in his final over, the second costliest in international Twenty20 cricket.
The highlight came when he played his trademark ramp shot up and over short fine-leg after being awarded a pair of free-hits.
The shots, to deliveries of completely differing line and length, were wonderfully brazen and required nerves of steel.
Buttler had previously failed to get the shot right in England colours, twice losing his wicket in the attempt.
"Obviously it didn't work out against Pakistan in the UAE and I got out twice playing it, but it's a huge part of my game so I keep trying it and it came off," he said.
"I had a bit of a confidence knock getting out to it in Dubai. But I had a couple of nice texts off (Somerset captain) Marcus Trescothick just saying 'enjoy yourself' and that's what I did.
"I think in Twenty20 that shot has become the norm when you see fine-leg up.
"I always know I have an option. Guys improvise a lot these days and try to second guess the bowlers so I'm glad I can do that and have it in my armoury.
"The way I play it I think I can do it to a full ball, a wide ball or a back-of-a-length ball. I'm really comfortable with the shot."
England have two warm-up matches in Colombo - against Australia on Monday and Pakistan two days later - before the formal start of their title defence against Afghanistan on September 21.