Recalled batsman Jos Buttler accepts his call up to England’s squad for this week’s first Test against Pakistan will divide opinion but is determined to make the most of his “second debut”.
The 27-year-old wicketkeeper is set to play as a specialist batsman at Lord’s in the No7 slot, a position which Buttler himself describes as a “luxury”, having not played Test cricket since December 2016.
Buttler has regained his spot in the Test side despite limited red-ball exposure, although he has most recently enjoyed a productive spell with Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.
“I’m very aware that I’m the beneficiary of opinions,” said Buttler. “I don’t know whether there’s a right or wrong. Everyone has an opinion. That’s why sport is interesting.
“I’ve been afforded an amazing opportunity to come and play and one that I’m excited about. I’m accepting of the noise around it. That’s outside my control.
“It was quite a lot of a surprise. It wasn’t particularly on my radar as an immediate thought a couple of weeks ago, so it’s a fantastic surprise and incredible opportunity afforded to me. It feels like another debut.
“You always think maybe that race is run and will never happen again. It’s not that you live with regrets but you definitely miss it. To get that call the overriding emotion was excitement.
“Turning up here on England duty to play a Test match is unbelievable, it’s an awesome opportunity.”
Buttler averages 31 from his 18 Test matches, having chalked up six half-centuries, after making his debut against India at Southampton in 2014.
His inclusion coincided with the first England squad announced by new national selector Ed Smith, who was appointed last month.