NASSER HUSSAIN: Buttler apos;s Talent Puts Him In Same Bracket As Richards

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Sometimes we admire competitors from afar.

We look at opposition players such as Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle and think 'wow'.
Without doubt, they are incredibly talented batsmen, but there is also one of our own — Jos Buttler — who we are perhaps taking for granted.
Buttler keeps doing things we call freakish.

Arguably, though, if he keeps on doing them he is no longer a freak and the truth is we have come to expect the kind of destructive innings he produced on Wednesday against West Indies.
Jos Buttler keeps doing things we call freakish, such as his destructive innings on Wednesday
He is someone for whom world cricket has huge admiration and we should be proud

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He is someone for whom world cricket has huge admiration and we should be proud that we have produced a player who is at the top of the game.

It's not just his ability as a finisher that makes him special, either.

In contrast to his explosive 150 in Grenada, when he scored his last 105 runs inside the final 10 overs of the innings, think back to the series finale against Australia at Old Trafford last year. 
When he came in, England were 27 for four, chasing 206, with bowlers very much on top.

He paced things beautifully, playing in a completely different manner to Grenada and turning around a game which Australia were bossing to seal a one-wicket win. Yes, he's a dynamic cricketer, but a very smart one, too.
I can't tell you anyone else England have produced who could play the two varying match-winning innings of this week and that one against the Australians.
There are not many in the history of the game I could nominate, either.

You would have to narrow it down to a select few such as Sir Viv Richards, Kohli and De Villiers.
He has produced match-winning innings for England similar to the great Sir Viv Richards
We look at Virat Kohli and go 'wow' but we are taking Buttler's talent for granted

With certain players, you can implement plans and set fields you know will restrict their strike-rates from 150 to 100 or maybe less.

Doing so can win you a game.
With Buttler I am not sure you could ever be confident of this working because he can hit you anywhere. The fact he has every shot in modern cricket's book means that when it's his day you are in big trouble.
So how can you stop him or slow him down? Well, I really wouldn't go bowling yorkers at him unless I was Lasith Malinga or Jasprit Bumrah — who deliver them with magnificent accuracy — because if you get these wrong they disappear for six, as we saw in Grenada.
Old fogeys will say 'well don't get it wrong', but that's easier said than done because even if you're hitting the blockhole on the line you want, Buttler moves around the crease so much that it may not be good enough.
Even when a bowler gets the skill right, Buttler either goes back to find the leverage to get the ball up and over the fielders, or forward to make it into a full toss. In my day, we would say a low full toss was not such a bad delivery.

He hits them into the stands.
Chasing 206 against Australia last year, Buttler steered England home from 27 for four

The reason he's so good at doing so comes down to a combination of magnificent hand-eye co-ordination and the speed he is able to get his hands through the ball. 
Those rubbery wrists of his are just phenomenal and make his style different to a power hitter such as Gayle.
The bat speed in the hitting area is awesome.

If you don't have that kind of speed through the ball when it's that full, you just clunk it.
It looks like there is no answer to Buttler when he's in this sort of form but there are certain things you can try such as taking scoring areas out of the equation — the leg-side by bowling wide, or straight down the ground by going short.
My preference would be to bowl back of a length, into the pitch a little bit more, use slower-ball bouncers and set the field square.
The trouble is that if you become predictable, he will read you very quickly.

Once he knows what's coming, the bowler has to change again.
It looks like there is no answer to Buttler when he's in this sort of form in the Caribbean
What has reduced options for opponents is that reverse swing has virtually disappeared from ODIs due to the use of two new balls.
If the ball was dipping and deviating, those low full tosses and yorkers would provide the bowler with a bit more leeway, but because it is still gun barrel straight between overs 41-50, Buttler can just hit through the line.
The other trait I like in him is his calmness under pressure.

Even when I am interviewing him, I remind myself, 'Nas, this guy is a cool, sharp dude. Make sure you get your questions right'. 
If you don't, he will look at you as if to say 'really?' A man of very few words he might be, but there is an aura about him and when he speaks in a gentle voice that betrays the explosive player he is, you listen.
You hang on every word, to be honest, because he has that good a cricket brain. After Eoin Morgan, he will make a fantastic captain of England.
He has a lovely manner about him, too, which meant that even the way he went back at Sheldon Cottrell was classy.
The way he went back at Sheldon Cottrell's salute to Eoin Morgan was classy 
It was just a salute and a smile but Cottrell was put back in his box after giving various batters the same sort of send-off.
That moment made great viewing and summed up Buttler.

He is the complete package, one of our own and we should admire him. As a cricketer he ticks just about every box.
Well, without dwelling on negativity, there is one point I would make. For someone with his ability, a return of five first-class hundreds is too low.
He has played his county cricket at Taunton and Old Trafford, generally homes to good batting pitches, and made 31 Test appearances. He's better than that and it's a challenge to conquer on his to-do list.
That century stat needs to change and I believe it will because he is desperate to prove he really can do anything.

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