England captain Joe Root has confirmed that senior wicketkeeper-batter Jos Buttler will be back as vice-captain for the fifth and final Test against India at Old Trafford(Manchester).
Acknowledging the fact that Buttler did not perform to expectations with the bat in the first three Tests, Root backed him to put forward better performances.
Buttler missed The Oval Test to be with his wife for the birth of their second child. He was blessed with a baby girl on September 5.
At a virtual press conference ahead of the last Test, Root was asked if Buttler would play the Manchester Test. He confirmed the news by saying, “Yes, Jos (Buttler) will be back as vice-captain and he will keep wickets.“
Pope came into the team for the fourth Test in place of Buttler and top-scored with 81 in the first innings. He single-handedly took the English team from a difficult situation of 62/5 to 290. He was phenomenal with the bat in the first innings and had rightly predicted that the pitch will get better to bat on as the game progresses. Bairstow took the gloves for the game but failed with the bat, scoring 37 and 0.
Buttler, who turned 31 on Wednesday, also couldn’t score runs in the first three Tests. He has only scored 72 runs at an average of 14.40. Admitting that the experienced batter’s performance has been below expectations, Root backed him up by saying,”
“Jos is the vice-captain of the team. He is a senior player and he is integral to what we are about. I know his output in terms of runs this series hasn’t been as high as he would have liked. But we know what a great player he is and how important he can be to turning a Test match.”
Although he has struggled in the series, Buttler played a crucial knock in the second innings at Lord’s, scoring a 96-ball 25, staying at the crease trying to save the match.
With Buttler coming back into the squad, he will be the first choice to keep the wickets. Asked whether making Bairstow keep wickets for only one Test was unfair, the England captain disagreed, further explaining, “I think Jonny (Bairstow) knew exactly what the scenario was when given that opportunity to keep wickets last week. This change within Test cricket happens, whether you are left out or whether you are moved around, it is part and parcel of playing at the highest level.”
Root concluded, “Sometimes you have to deal with so much and things that you don’t agree with. I don’t necessarily think that will be the case with Jonny. He’s a big part of what we have been as a squad for a long time now and he will understand it. As I said, Jos is the vice-captain. He is going to come back in and I expect him to perform.”