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Jos Buttler’s keeping errors hurt England, batting hero says he needs to improve

Jos Buttler's batting heroics inspired England to pull off a daunting 4th innings chase, but his wicketkeeping lapses cost his team 84 runs in the match. Buttler admits to thinking he might have played his last Test for England.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: August 9, 2020 3:35:38 pm
Jos Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes led England from 117/5 to an unlikely win against Pakistan in the 1st Test on Saturday. (AP Photo)

Jos Buttler, in leading England to a stiff fourth innings chase of 277 against Pakistan in the 1st Test, has once again proved his worth as a Number 6 in the Test side, but his wicketkeeping errors led him to think he had played his last game for England, he said after the match.

Buttler’s keeping errors, which were under the scanner in the West Indies series as well, came to the fore in the Pakistan Test as well. In the first innings, he missed a catch and one stumping opportunity off Shan Masood, allowing the opener to go on to make 156.

“If I had taken those chances, we would not have been chasing 277. I know I was not good enough. I know if I’m going to continue to be a wicketkeeper in this team I have to be better,” Buttler told BBC after the 1st Test.

Buttler made 75, adding 139 with Chris Woakes, who was 84 not out, as England recovered from 117/5 to pull off an unlikely chase of 277 on Saturday, but Buttler admitted to thinking that he might have played his last Test because of how costly his errors were with the gloves.

Buttler had lost England 84 runs with his keeping, by CricViz’s measures the worst keeping performance since January 2017. According to CricViz fielding data, England’s fielding cost them 57 runs while Pakistan’s earned them 53 in the 1st Test: a net deficit of 110 runs.

READ | Unusual suspects Buttler, Woakes shine as England win at Old Trafford

Buttler’s ODI-style batting heroics — Michael Atherton said at the start of Day 4 that England needed to score quickly in the fourth innings because of how the pitch was behaving — did make up for his untidy glovework in terms of numbers, but he said his runs do not make up for his lapses.

“It still doesn’t change the role of wicketkeeper,” he said. “You’re expected to take those chances, especially at this level. To drop a catch is the worst feeling for a wicketkeeper. There’s nowhere to hide,” he said.

Buttler’s innings came a day after his father was taken to hospital, his sister tweeted on Saturday. John Buttler had previously suffered a number of health scares and was admitted on Friday evening, not going any earlier in order to watch the Test. He returned home after having scans.

Skipper Joe Root said, “It says a huge amount about him as a person to carry that and be able to either use it, or park it – only he will know which way he did that – and to play in that manner was exceptional. To have that external pressure as well, I’m chuffed to bits with him.”

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