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What next for UniverseJos?

by Justin Rourke

Jos Buttler is 31 years old he has played (close to) 100 IT20’s, 150 ODI’s and 50 Tests. He is the only Englishman to score a century across all 3 formats, and he has been vice captain and key contributor to the 50 over and 20 team.

So, what is next? The simple answer is the Ashes, his first trip to Australia as a test player and he will want to support his very close mate Joe Root. 

After that, logic says that Morgan will step aside having gathered another trophy. Morgan has had a remarkable impact on the English white ball game but there are certainly some who feel he is now too powerful. Jos has been vice captain for some time now and has stepped into captain effectively on a number of occasions.

He is known to be respected by his peers and have a good and calm cricket brain, it also looks like a decent piece to long term planning from England to have him ready to succeed Moran given his experience and that he is assured of his place in the team (in both white ball formats).

But what does Jos want? I don’t know, so this is pure speculation … but why not. I do know that he now has 2 young children and a wife in the UK, and that combined with the additional stress of travelling under covid regulations in the last 2 years have seen Jos make some tough decisions on his schedule, including not returning to the IPL. Therefore, I think it is fair to assume that he may want to spend less time away from home over the remaining 5-7 years of his career.

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It might therefore appeal to him to drop 1 or 2 of the 3 formats … I hear you say ‘as white ball captain elect, he’s going to walk away from tests’, and that would be logical. Unless of course you look at it this way;

  1. He has already won a world cup, what else does he have to prove in either format?
  2. Morgan is the most successful and widely respected captain England have every had, how do you follow that?
  3. The ECB pendulum is due to swing back to test cricket after the white ball success.
  4. He’s not yet cracked test cricket, why not concentrate on that for the next 5 years!

England have a lot of young talent knocking on the door in white ball cricket and a lot of keeping options. On the other hand the cupboard is a little bare in test cricket. Should they lose this Ashes series (I suspect they will) it seems likely that Joe Root will step aside and the usual 4 yearly post mortem will begin.

You can assume that the ‘clean broom’ will also see the end of Anderson and Broad, so who is the next England captain? Stokes, that is a big ask as we’ve only just got him back!

What if Jos was asked? We know his peers respect him (including Root and Stokes), we know he has a very good cricket brain. There is a world where Jos gives up white ball cricket to reduce his schedule and steps up to be test match captain from no6.

This would require giving up the gloves too, freeing him up to bring his leadership and batsmanship from no6 to forge a new era.

Burns, Crawley, Root, Stokes, Pope, Buttler*, Foakes+, Robinson, Stone/Archer, Mahmood, Parkinson.

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