England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler said pace sensation Jofra Archer and vice-captain Ben Stokes would be the key men for the visitor in the Test series against India, beginning in Chennai from February 5.
Speaking in a virtual press conference on Saturday, Buttler welcomed Archer’s return to the Test squad and also pinned the veteran pair of James Anderson and Stuart Broad to make a difference. “Jofra is certainly an X-factor player. He will be excited for a big series in India. We have a few guys who can do amazing things with the ball - Anderson and Broad are two of the best seam bowlers to ever play the game and Ben Stokes is a pretty good X-factor player as well,” said Buttler.
Buttler also labelled the India-England clash to be a prominent series in its context. "I think India and England series is fantastic. It's one of the premier cricket series around the world and we're all looking forward to a brilliant series,” he said.
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While the 30-year-old lauded the 2012 England side which was the last team to win a Test series in India, he also opined the current side is in a “different stage in the journey”.
Buttler also added that the sub-continent conditions will present a massive challenge for an English side that hosts fresh faces in their first tour to India. “Guys like Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley and Rory Burns, our top three (are) guys who can occupy the crease. They are looking forward to their first taste of playing Test cricket in India. Spending time in India, you start to understand the magnitude of the game here while coming up against some of the best players in the world. It is a huge challenge for us but that’s why we play the game,” the 30-year-old said.
‘Indian conditions great for wicketkeeping’
Buttler, who will leave the squad and return to England after the first Test, is playing his third Test series as a wicket-keeper in sub-continent conditions. The premier gloveman said he relished the Indian conditions despite the challenges to keep to spinners. “There are some big challenges (in keeping), the conditions will deteriorate over the five days and there is less carry for the seam bowlers and obviously the challenge of standing up to the spinners as the balls turn to spin. Having said it’s a challenge, it’s also a great place to keep wickets because you feel you are always in the game”.
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England has decided to rest its multi-format players on a rotational basis. Buttler, however, lauded the ECB move to rest the players and cited it as the only possible option in long-standing quarantine and bio-bubble life.
“We do find it challenging spending time away from family and being locked up in hotels can be very tough. I think the ECB has been really forward thinking for us to rotated players in and out of this series. At times, it is frustrating because you want to see the best players on show all the time but it’s not possible with the amount of cricket and time spent in bubbles,” added Buttler.