Desire is still there to remain a multi-format player, Buttler says
Australia took an unassailable 3-0 series lead with comprehensive victories in Brisbane, Adelaide and – most emphatically – inside two and a half days in Melbourne, but Buttler insisted England had plenty to play for to avoid a 5-0 sweep. Personally, he spoke of his desire to remain a multi-format player despite his Test form struggling to match his stellar limited-overs record and the demands of travelling for extended periods with a young family.
“It’s certainly my ambition,” Buttler said from Sydney, where England are preparing for the fourth Test, starting on Wednesday (Tuesday night UK time). “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.”
Asked if he hoped to be part of England’s squad due to play three Tests in the Caribbean in March, Buttler said: “Yes, I hope so.”
During an Ashes campaign in which England’s highest team total has been 297, Buttler is averaging 19.20. In 56 Tests, he averages 32.53 with just two centuries.
Buttler faced 207 balls for 26 in a spirited rearguard on the last day of the second Test in Adelaide, having come in on a pair, but he holed out to deep midwicket off Nathan Lyon on the stroke of tea in England’s first innings at the MCG. He took a brilliant catch to dismiss Marcus Harris in Adelaide but made costly drops in the same match.
“In hindsight, just before a tea break is obviously a poor time to get out, but I wanted to be attacking and positive in that innings,” Buttler said of his dismissal to Lyon in Melbourne. “Mid-on and mid-off were up. I saw that as an opportunity to score, I didn’t execute that. That’s all it is.
“It’s a very lonely place dropping a catch,” he added. “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.”
“That’s Quinton’s own personal situation, but as a fan of cricket and a huge fan of his, I’m disappointed that he’s at that stage,” said 31-year-old Buttler. “I love watching him bat, keep wicket and play Test cricket. The world of cricket will miss him in that format. But I guess commend him for making a decision that’s right for him.”
Buttler said the entire England team were hurting, given their defeats by nine wickets in Brisbane, 275 runs in Adelaide and an innings and 14 runs in Melbourne. England have now lost 18 of their last 23 Tests in Australia, including 12 of the last 13.
“There’s an overriding sense of disappointment and frustration with the situation we’ve found ourselves in,” Buttler said. “We’ve not competed or played the cricket we wanted to at the start of the tour. We’re not gelling as a group and individually playing well enough to compete with Australia. We certainly don’t want to be a team to lose 5-0.”