‘If he gets some runs the rest will be history’: England coach Chris Silverwood backs misfiring Jos Buttler to recover from Test batting slump as hosts aim to level series against West Indies at Old Trafford
- Jos Buttler dropped Jermaine Blackwood, who scored a match-winning 95
- The England wicketkeeper has also managed just one fifty in 21 Test innings
- But Chris Silverwood believes he is one good knock away from regaining form
- Joe Root will return for the second Test against West Indies in Manchester
How England solve the problem of finally unlocking the Test potential of their most gifted player will dominate thoughts as they begin planning their latest attempt at a come from behind series victory.
The sight of Jos Buttler shaking his head and seemingly nursing a hand injury after dropping the catch on Sunday that would probably have won the first Test for England was a salutary reminder of the keeping dilemma that will not go away.
It was a rare lapse with the gloves in dropping Jermaine Blackwood on his way to a match-winning 95 for West Indies but it was perhaps a symptom of the wider issues with the bat that continue to haunt Buttler.
England will look to get the most out of wicketkeeper Jos Buttler ahead of the second Test
Buttler dropped West Indies’ batsman Jermaine Blackwood who went on to score a crucial 95
The man who is inventive, dynamic and destructive in white-ball cricket now has only one half century in his last 21 Test innings after twin failures at the Ageas Bowl and a selection recognised as one of Ed Smith’s most successful in 2018 is now under scrutiny.
‘Jos looked brilliant in practice coming into the game,’ said England coach Chris Silverwood yesterday as he looked back on a seventh defeat in the first Test of the last nine series. ‘He just needs to go on and make those big scores now, doesn’t he? He knows that.
‘From our point of view it’s just making sure he feels confident in the environment he’s in. We’ll give him the best chance to succeed and then if he has a day out and gets some runs the rest will be history.’
Buttler looks certain to have at least the second Test, that starts at his adopted home ground of Emirates Old Trafford on Thursday, to finally justify England’s faith but if he fails again then his red-ball time will be running out.
Buttler also struggled with the bat in Southampton, and has just one fifty in 21 Test innings now
But England coach Chris Silverwood has backed Buttler to put his poor form behind him
England still hope it will not come to that. They showed their belief in Buttler by banishing Jonny Bairstow to the white-ball squad ahead of the first Test and telling him his most realistic hopes of a red-ball return lie as a specialist batsman.
But that still leaves the most gifted keeper of them all and a batsman good enough to score a century on Test debut against Sri Lanka in Ben Foakes ready to step in.
‘I’m not going to go down the road of putting Jos under pressure because I don’t think that will help him,’ said Silverwood. ‘First and foremost we want to give him the best chance to succeed but, yes, we have a very good gloveman here in Ben Foakes.’
One man who looks sure to have reached the end of the road is Joe Denly, seems certain to make way for the returning captain Joe Root on Thursday even though he will remain in a second Test squad England will name today. Zak Crawley showed in Southampton he has the class and potential to be England’s long term No3, with Root back at four.
England showed their belief in Buttler by banishing Jonny Bairstow to the white-ball squad
Meanwhile, Joe Denly is likely to make way for England captain Joe Root for the second Test
‘We’re all desperate to see Joe do well,’ said Silverwood of Denly. ‘We can see he’s training and trying hard. He’s a great bloke which is why we want him to do well but yes he’s under pressure now.’
Silverwood echoed the views of stand-in captain Ben Stokes in supporting Stuart Broad after his outspoken mid-Test Sky interview on his omission from the attack but denied that the decision to leave him out was just about planning for the future and the Ashes.
‘I think Stuart handled himself very well,’ added the England coach. ‘What I did love about the interview, and the subsequent conversations I’ve had with him, is that passion. The drive is still there and Stuart still has a big role to play in this team. I’ve made that very clear to him.
‘The decision to leave him out was because of what we thought we needed on that pitch. We saw that some of the bowlers who did have an impact had pace. – Jofra’s spell on Sunday was as good as I’ve seen him. So pace did play a part and, as Ben did, I stand by the decision to leave Stuart out.’
Silverwood also insisted the decision to drop Stuart Broad was not based on Ashes planning