Jos Buttler insists he still has ‘drive and ambition’ for Test cricket despite painful Ashes series

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Jos Buttler insists he still has ‘drive and ambition’ for Test cricket despite painful Ashes series
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  • Jos Buttler
    Jos Buttler
    English cricketer

Jos Buttler has declared his intention to continue playing Test cricket beyond England’s poor Ashes tour, and says their motivation now is to avoid being whitewashed by a rampant Australia side.

Buttler, like almost every England player, has not performed to expectation in Australia. While he began with a promising innings in Brisbane and dropped anchor in a bid to save the Adelaide Test, a series of dropped catches and a dismal shot on day one in Melbourne have blotted his copybook.

It is possible that England look to move on from Buttler, who is 31, in their post Ashes clearout, allowing him to concentrate on the white-ball formats, where he is a world-class operator. He has played 56 Tests since debuting in 2014, enjoying periods of success and failure.

“Yeah, I hope so,” said Buttler, when asked if he plans to tour the West Indies in March.

“It’s certainly my ambition [to continue playing Test cricket]. I don’t think I’d have put as much into it as I have done if it wasn’t. I have fantastic family support – they’re very supportive of me and my career, and make a lot of sacrifices for that. That’s one thing that gives you a lot of motivation and drive to try to make it all worth it. It’s certainly maintained my drive and ambition to try and play.“

At the moment I feel I’ve got that support and in a place where I want to try to make it work. All I’m focusing on at the moment is turning up in Sydney and practise well. The next port of call is to be very immediate on that.”

Buttler said England were motivated by the fear of becoming the third side this in 15 years to lose 5-0 in Australia.

“We certainly don’t want to be a team to lose 5-0,” said Buttler. “Every game you start, you start afresh. We must maintain belief and come around from the disappointment of where we’re at in the series to prepare as well as we can do for the game in Sydney.

“There’s always loads to play for in an England shirt, and we’ll turn up determined to play of cricket, and competing, that we know we can.

“I still have an immense amount of belief in my own ability. I know members of the team will be questioned on the outside, but it’s not believing in yourself is when you really start to get on a downward spiral.”

Buttler said his determination was to play the situation, whether by counter-attacking – as he tried to in Melbourne – or digging in as in Adelaide.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Explaining his shot in Melbourne, where he holed out to Nathan Lyon for three just before tea on the opening day, Buttler said:

“Mid-off and mid-on were up, and I wanted to attack the spinner. I think in hindsight, coming just before a tea break is obviously a poor time to get out. But I wanted to be attacking and positive in that innings. I saw that as an opportunity to score. I didn’t execute that.

Asked about dropping catches – he missed centurion Marnus Labuschagne twice in Adelaide, with the second a simple chance – Buttler said: “It’s a very lonely place dropping a catch.

“It certainly hurts and it’s one of the worst feelings in cricket – letting down your mates. It doesn’t just hurt you: it hurts the whole team. You’ve certainly got to be able to be very strong with your character to try to come through that. Especially when you’re wicketkeeping, there’s nowhere to hide.

“Let it pass, you made a mistake – catch the next one and move on. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but that’s what you’ve got to able to do.”

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