Michael Atherton has backed the ascendancy of Jos Buttler into the role of England’s limited overs captain, stating he was the only practical candidate to be given the job. He went on to appeal to people to reserve their judgements for an intermittent period and allow Buttler to grow into the role.
After leading England to their first ever World Cup in cricket history, Eoin Morgan earlier this year announced his decision to hang up his boots in the international arena. The 35-year-old had led his nation in white-ball cricket for seven long years, leaving a large void in the leadership group of the cricketing side. It didn’t take long for the board to announce Jos Buttler as Morgan’s successor, given the experience and roles the wicketkeeper-batsman had played for his team in recent years.
Buttler served as Morgan’s deputy for the past few years and has over 150 ODIs under his belt, making him the most experienced member of the present England setup. Michael Atherton feels it was pretty much a no-brainer to instate Buttler as the Three Lions captain.
“It was absolutely the right choice to make Jos Buttler captain. There would have been one or two alternatives that they would have discussed, principally Moeen Ali. But Buttler had been the vice-captain and he captained the side in Morgan’s absence from time to time and had done a pretty good job,” he said on the Sony Sports Network.
However, the 31-year-old hasn’t had the best start to his tenure. His reign started off with a 2-1 loss in the T20I series versus India and was immediately followed up by England’s worst loss ever at home in ODIs in the first encounter of the 50-over series. Nevertheless, Atherton stated that it’s too early to make any concrete judgements.
“It is early days. I think in the industry as you know in the written and television world, we are very quick to make snap judgements. But I think you have to let it play out a little bit and you have to see it develop,” he said.
As a batsman, Buttler has been highly prolific in the past few years. A middle-order batter in ODIs, the man from Somerset usually comes to the crease at the fall of two or three wickets and uses his explosive batting to put England in control. He is capable of anchoring the innings as well whenever required, which is why the role of opener has been assigned to him in T20Is. Also holding the gloves for the national team, Atherton feels it’ll take a while for Buttler to settle into yet another role, but he’ll eventually come good.
“The thing I would say is that in T20, he has quite a lot on his plate. Opening, keeping, and captaining, put quite a lot on his shoulder. But you know that the ODIs are slightly different. He does not open the batting in the ODIs. But it is early days, but I have no doubts that he is going to do a good job as the England white-ball captain. And I can’t see that there is going to be a dramatic change in approach from the Morgan days.”