The England dressing room is relishing the chance to see Jos Buttler back in the team and taking the game to the Sri Lankans according to Chris Woakes, who insists the Lancashire man is one of the best in the business.
After being dropped from the Test side last Autumn, Buttler played the role of interested spectator for the recent three-Test series against Sri Lanka which England won 2-0, and which saw wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow pick up the man of the series.
Both are included for the forthcoming Royal London One Day Series, which gets underway at Trent Bridge next Tuesday, as well as the Natwest T20 match in July – although Buttler will be behind the stumps again after establishing himself as the country’s first-choice keeper in the shorter format of the game.
Back in April, Buttler helped England to a runners-up spot at April’s World Twenty20, before then spent a further 11 weeks playing for the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League and finishing as their third highest scorer while benefiting from a coaching team that included Ricky Ponting.
And Woakes believes that experience is set to benefit both the 25-year-old and the England team in general as they look to accommodate both Buttler and Bairstow in the team.
“Jos is a fantastic white-ball cricketer, as he is with the red ball, but he’s had most of his success in the shorter formats and proved it all around the world now,” said Woakes.
“We’ve seen it not just for England but also in the IPL where he had a great tournament, and it’s great to see one of our English lads showing everyone he could do it on such a big stage.
“Jos had Ricky Ponting on the coaching staff which can only be beneficial.
“It gives us a massive boost to see him coming into the side, not just as a wicket-keeper but as an explosive batsman who can take games away from your opposition very quickly.
“I don’t think Jonny will find it tough to accept Jos wearing the gloves in the One Day games as he has owned them in that format for a while now, and to change that would be harsh on Jos.
“It probably fits the balance of the team with him having the gloves on a lot better anyway, so Jonny won’t have an issue with it. That’s the way it is, and Jonny is definitely in the kind of form to get in as a batsman anyway.”
England will be aiming to keep their visiting opponents on the back foot during the forthcoming five-match Royal London One Day Series.
Sri Lanka are currently ranked fifth in the world when it comes to one day cricket, one place above England – and Woakes is expecting a backlash from Sri Lanka after losing the Test series.
“The white ball guys are coming in and while it is largely a very different squad, a series win like we had definitely gives us the momentum heading into this one,” added Woakes.
“Hopefully that has dented the Sri Lankans confidence a bit and gives us a little bit of an advantage, but it is a completely different series – and almost a different sport in some ways.
“They will be looking for some sort of revenge having not gone so well in the Test series so I’m sure it’s going to be a tough one.
“They’ll feel like they have a lot to prove as they are a good side and they have showed their one-day game is very strong over a long period of time.
“They’ll be a threat for sure, even in English conditions, and we’ll have to be at our best to get the result.
“The guys in India went fantastically well, and played fearless cricket with a smile on their faces which was great to watch – so hopefully that can rub off on this side and we can produce some big scores again.”
Chris Woakes was speaking at a Sri Lankan inspired cooking event hosted by Royal London, proud sponsors of One-Day cricket.