By Sa’adi Thawfeeq
One of England’s most outstanding white-ball cricketers Jos Buttler has rated Sri Lanka as “a very dangerous side” and expects a very tough challenge from them in the upcoming white-ball T20I and ODI series.
In a virtual media conference yesterday, Buttler said: “I always think Sri Lankan cricket is strong. Any time you lose players like Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, two guys incredibly difficult to replace, and in (Lasith) Malinga, a superstar of the game who has gone out of it in recent times, actually it takes time to find those next ones to come to that standard of play.”
“Sri Lankan cricket always has exciting talented players, they are a very dangerous side to play against. I am expecting a very tough challenge and some great cricket in this upcoming month.”
Buttler rated the Sri Lankan white-ball captain Kusal Perera as “a dangerous player” and leg-spinning all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga as “an exciting player who has been talked of highly”.
“Sri Lanka’s always producing good exciting cricketers and Kusal Perera has been around for a little while. I always see him as a dangerous player to play against, someone who is very attacking and can take the game away from you,” said Buttler. “Someone we have not seen as much of is that very exciting player leg-spin all-rounder Hasaranga. He played his first Test during the winter and he is highly talked about by Mickey Arthur saying he is very excited about it as a player. Just two names but I am sure that Sri Lanka has a very talented squad.”
Buttler who has been named in England’s T20I and ODI squads to play against Sri Lanka is returning to international cricket after a six-month lay-off which is part of the England rotation policy to keep the players fresh and mentally strong due to the bio-bubble they have to go into because of COVID-19.
Buttler who has been batting at no. 3 and 4 for Lancashire in the Vitality T20 Blast said that he preferred opening the batting for England in the forthcoming T20I series.
“I love to open the batting which is the best place to be in T20 cricket,” said Buttler. I had some success doing it, that’s my preference. But at the same time, I am open to whatever the team requires.”
England play Sri Lanka in the first two T20Is at Cardiff tomorrow and on Thursday before moving to Southampton for the third and final game on 26 June.