Wicketkeeper batsman Jos Buttler is all set to return to the England squad for the fifth and final Test against India, starting Friday in Manchester, following the birth of his second child, Margot.
Buttler played the first three matches in Nottingham, Lord’s and Leeds, but missed the Oval Test to be with his wife, Louise, leaving the gloves with Jonny Bairstow and prompting speculation that his England future would consist of white-ball cricket.
However, England Test skipper Joe Root said that Buttler’s career in the purest format is far from being over. Root said that Buttler remains an integral part of the Three Lions’ Test setup.
“I don’t see this being the end of Jos’ Test career at all. I see someone that is desperate to perform well in the Test arena. I think he loves the Test game and he’s a big part of our team. As far as I’m concerned, I hope it’s a really memorable week for him and it will be great whenever he is available to play again,” Root was quoted as saying in a virtual press conference.
But Buttler’s daughter’s arrival on Thursday morning potentially hands England a selection headache ahead of the final Test, reports Daily Mail.
“In Buttler’s absence Ollie Pope returned and hit 81, his highest Test score for 18 innings. Bairstow is back where he feels he belongs: behind the stumps and batting at No 6. The other possibility is that Buttler does not make the final XI, having averaged just 14 in the first three Tests against India, with a top score of 25,” it said.
Pace bowler Saqib Mahmood could be an injury doubt for the fifth Test after pulling up with an apparent side strain playing for Lancashire.