Jos Buttler underlines Test class with England rescue act before bowlers take over

England’s Jos Buttler hooks a six during the fifth Test between England and India at the Oval. (AP)
Updated 08 September 2018
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Jos Buttler underlines Test class with England rescue act before bowlers take over

LONDON: Jos Buttler says he has found a “nice balance and good mentality” after he offered further proof of his progress in Test cricket with a third fifty in four innings.
Celebrating his 28th birthday in style on Saturday, Buttler top-scored with 89 to take England to a competitive total of 332 all out in their first innings of the fifth Test against India at the Oval, having come in when they were reeling at 171 for five.
The big-hitting batsman was pigeon-holed as a limited-overs specialist until national selector Ed Smith took a punt, recalling him to the Test side this season after 18 months out of the team.
Buttler has not looked back since, becoming one of the most vital cogs in the England batting line-up.
In the two-Test series against Pakistan earlier this season, he was top-scorer for England with an average of more than 80.
He now has 349 runs in the current series against the top-ranked Indians — nearly 100 runs ahead of the next-highest England run-scorer, Sam Curran.
Buttler batted carefully against some searching seam bowling on Friday but stepped up the tempo on the second day under cloudy skies, smashing two sixes.
So what has changed for the Lancashire man?
“I have found a nice balance and good mentality about the game,” said Buttler, adding that his success had given him confidence.
“I’ve got a good perspective and have been practicing really well. I think that’s been a good thing and the consistency and preparation and probably the hunger to turn up and try hard again and continue good form.
“I think that’s been a big thing for me this year in all formats of the game.”
Buttler, playing his 25th Test, said he would describe his return more as a “second or third coming” than a breakthrough.
“I’ve just enjoyed my cricket. I spoke about the first time I got recalled at Lord’s (against Pakistan in May).
“It was an unbelievable opportunity to come back in and play and the fire was really burning for Test cricket.”
And he said he was comfortable with the different demands of Test cricket, willing to graft and then able to change gear when required.
“People have said to me you should play the way you do in white-ball (limited-overs) cricket in red-ball cricket,” he said.
“I’ve never really seen it like that. I’ve never felt comfortable just to go out and play shots.”
Former England captain Michael Atherton said Buttler had been the man of the summer for the home side.
“Buttler, recalled at the start of the summer, has been England’s man of the summer — he’s played beautifully throughout,” he said.
“He really puts the fear into the opposition because of how destructive he can be with the tail.”
Smith, the national selector, recalled the talented batsman to Test duty in his first squad announcement as England’s new national selector in May, to face Pakistan.
He was adamant Buttler would prove to be the “right player at the right time” and bring unique qualities to the team.
Buttler, who kept wicket for England in the fourth Test against India in Southampton, holds the record for England’s fastest-ever one-day hundred — off 46 balls against Pakistan in 2015.
He has also made a huge splash in Twenty20 cricket, becoming one of the biggest stars in the cash-rich Indian Premier League.
But over the English summer Buttler has emphatically demonstrated he belongs in the longest form of the game.
He has been the top scorer in four out of England’s past five innings and scored his first Test century in the third match of the current series in Nottingham.
In Buttler, England have the ideal man to anchor the lower middle order. Now their challenge is to find some consistency at the top.


Sala tragedy sparks unsavoury legal wrangle

Updated 54 min 48 sec ago
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Sala tragedy sparks unsavoury legal wrangle

  • The plane carrying the striker came down in the English Channel en route to the Welsh capital on January 21, two days after he completed his transfer from Nantes
  • Cardiff have so far refused to pay the first instalment of the club record fee, believed to be £5 million, as they await the results of an Air Accidents Investigations Bureau investigation

LONDON: The tragedy of the plane crash that killed Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala has now entered an ugly aftermath as Premier League club Cardiff City and French side Nantes threaten to go to court over his £15 million ($19 million) transfer fee.
Sala, who was buried at the age of 28 in the Argentine village of Progreso on Saturday, never played a game for Cardiff. The plane carrying the striker and pilot David Ibbotson came down in the English Channel en route to the Welsh capital on January 21, two days after he completed his transfer from Nantes.
Cardiff have so far refused to pay the first instalment of the club record fee, believed to be £5 million, as they await the results of an Air Accidents Investigations Bureau (AAIB) investigation into the causes of the crash.
The Telegraph reported on Sunday that Cardiff believe that if the AAIB find Ibbotson did not hold the necessary license to carry passengers on a commercial basis, then a negligence claim could be launched against whoever arranged the flight.
That would point the finger at agents Willie and Mark McKay, who were hired by Nantes to secure the transfer.
Willie McKay has accused Cardiff of “trying to throw me under the bus” in an attempt to avoid paying the transfer fee.
Speaking to The Times, Willie McKay said his son Mark arranged the fateful flight carrying Sala and Ibbotson, just as he had organized several flights for brokers of the deal in the weeks previously, including Cardiff manager Neil Warnock.
Willie McKay also rejected a statement from Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman that the club were unaware of who made Sala’s flight arrangements.
In his published timeline of events, Willie McKay said: “Emiliano was due to be met by the Cardiff City player liaison officer who was waiting for him to arrive at the Signature Flight Support building at Cardiff Airport on Monday evening (January 21). Cardiff City knew of the flight and who organized the flight.”
Cardiff have also reportedly questioned Willie McKay’s practice of trying to inflate transfer fees by fabricating interest in players from clubs.
“It was us who put in the media about other clubs wanting you — West Ham, Everton etc — to create an interest on you that’s what we do,” Willie McKay wrote in a letter to Sala that has now been made public.
However, that is a common, if dubious, practice among football agents and Cardiff’s case to use that as a reason for avoiding any part of the transfer fee is unlikely to be met with favor should the case proceed to court.
Nantes believe the McKays’ work for them ended when Sala’s move was transfer was completed, therefore absolving them of any responsibility over the arrangements of the flight.
The Guardian reported on Wednesday that Nantes will take their case to FIFA this week if the £5 million instalment is not paid.
“FIFA has not been contacted on this matter,” world football’s governing body said when contacted by AFP.
A resolution via FIFA’s players’ status committee or even the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is likely unless Cardiff relent on their current stance.
“There are, in my opinion, two possible solutions,” sports lawyer Gianpaolo Monteneri, who was head of FIFA’s Players’ Status Department from 1997-2005, told the Press Association.
“The first one is that the parties have established to go to FIFA and, in such a case, the matter is submitted to the players’ status committee in the first instance, with the possibility of an appeal to CAS.
“But it is also possible that the parties have decided to skip FIFA and go direct to CAS.”
Should Cardiff be found to have failed to comply with their contractual obligations without due cause, a range of sanctions are on offer to FIFA, according to Monteneri.
“If certain deadlines, which are mentioned in the transfer contract, are not met then these may trigger consequences for the club in question.
“This can be from an admonishment right up to a withdrawal of league points.”