Updated: Monday, 10th December 2018 @ 4:16pm

'An integral part for England': Bairstow backs Lancashire's Buttler, his national team wicket-keeping rival

'An integral part for England': Bairstow backs Lancashire's Buttler, his national team wicket-keeping rival

| By Andrew Lawton

Jos Buttler missed the start of Lancashire’s County Championship season, instead broadening his horizons with a stint for Mumbai Indians in the IPL.

And England wicket-keeping rival Jonny Bairstow believes the 25-year-old will be a better player for the experience having now returned to Old Trafford.

The explosive Buttler looked tailor-made for the sub-continent, but did not find things all his own way, 41 his most notable knock with an average of 23.18 runs.

But Bairstow still believes Buttler will have learnt valuable lessons.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for him to go out and play in the IPL in a world competition against the best in the world, why wouldn’t you go?” said Bairstow.

“It’s a great opportunity and he’s done really well out there.

“He’s an integral part of the England side so he’ll soon be back and looking to crack on for Lancashire and obviously England.”

Now Buttler has returned he will be lending his new-found skills can inspire Lancashire in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Their campaign kicks off against Warwickshire at Old Trafford on June 5 and they are set to take on Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Bairstow’s Yorkshire before the end of the month.

Then they play Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Worcestershire before concluding against 2014 winners Durham.

The top four teams in each group will reach the quarter-final stage with the ultimate goal a place in the final at Lord’s on September 17.

And Bairstow, 26, believes it’s hard to pick a winner with the tournament set to be one of the most competitive ever.

“There are a lot of very strong teams, it’s an open competition, literally anyone could win,” he added.

“I’m pretty sure at the start of last season not many people would have said Gloucestershire would win it but everyone can beat everyone in this competition on your day.

“That’s what makes it exciting, you have got to be on your game all the way through the competition and when it comes to those latter stages it’s knockout competition if you’re off for an hour or even a couple of overs you can get knocked out of that competition.”

As proud sponsors of the One Day Cup, Royal London is giving away match tickets to see the action live. Visit royallondoncricket.com to enter