There is no doubt that Lancashire and England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler is a serious talent in one-day cricket and I’m convinced he will pick up huge money in Saturday's Indian Premier League (IPL) auction in Bangalore.
He will almost certainly have a clause in any contract he may sign allowing him to return at short notice should he be required for Test cricket, given the IPL overlaps with the domestic season and England’s series against Sri Lanka starts on 19 May.
But nevertheless it is so refreshing that a centrally contracted player will go under the gavel having been actively encouraged to do so by England head coach Trevor Bayliss and director of cricket Andrew Strauss.
The likes of Kevin Pietersen have been shouting about the merits of a more flexible approach when it comes to the IPL and other global Twenty20 tournaments for years.
Playing in such competitions doesn’t just boost players financially – Buttler has been tipped to command a six-figure fee at auction – but playing in different conditions with and against some of the world’s best players can only be of benefit.
Down the line England will reap the rewards too, especially with greater emphasis now being placed on white-ball cricket within the corridors of power. With Buttler being such a class act in the shorter forms, it is great that he’s IPL-bound.
Buttler once again demonstrated his quality during England’s Duckworth-Lewis victory over South Africa in the opening one-day international in Bloemfontein on Wednesday where he notched his fourth ODI century.
The problem with facing Buttler is that you just can’t bowl to him. I remember bowling to him when he played for Somerset and he has got all the shots – he’ll hit you over your head, out the ground, over the wicketkeeper. He’s a nightmare.
Watching that ODI, England’s dressing room just looks a really good place to be. There doesn’t appear to be any egos in the team and they all seem to be having fun and committed to playing the same brand of attacking cricket.
As I have written previously, this environment simply doesn’t look as regimented as some in the past. Bayliss, who I played under at Sydney Sixers, will be a big part of that.
He will trust you to do your individual training and when you’re happy you can go back to the hotel and prepare for the next day. These guys play for England for a reason, they don’t need over-coaching.