Buttler – England’s artist in annihilation

There was a moment today, when Jos Buttler had reached about 35, that his ridiculous, stupendous hundred felt somehow inevitable. It wasn’t, of course. As the Champions League semi-finals this week proved, nothing is in sport but Buttler has done remarkable things so often in the blue of England that nothing seems impossible anymore. Nothing seams beyond his reach. Jos Buttler is making the extraordinary seem ordinary.He is this English generation’s Ian Botham, their Kevin Pietersen. Not because of the type of player he is, or the type of character. In both those regards, he is very different to those two but Buttler, like Botham was, like Pietersen was, is a player who makes the improbable, possible. A player who can single-handedly bend games of cricket to his will, a player of phenomenal talent, a player with an aura which puts the fear of God into the opposition.England’s one-day team have a lot of exceptional cricketers but none have the fear factor that Buttler has. Not many English cricketers have ever had that.
In this sort of mood, his talent is almost undeniable. There wasn’t anywhere Pakistan could bowl at him. This was, off 50 balls, England’s second fastest ever ODI hundred. The quickest, off 46 deliveries in the UAE in 2015 also against Pakistan, belongs to Buttler as well. He also has hundreds off 60 balls, 61 balls and 66 balls in ODI cricket. Out of his eight one-day hundreds, only one, against Australia last year, has taken him more than 83 deliveries.Taken on their own, those figures would be astonishing. Combine them with an ability to hit the ball near enough 360 degrees, fierce timing which seems effortless and a consistency in being able to clear the rope at will that not many can match, and you have a player who is uniquely gifted.
Virat Kohli is a brilliant player but in a more conventional manner while David Warner is as destructive but has the advantage of opening the batting when the field is up and the ball is new. Perhaps only Australia’s Glenn Maxwell can match Buttler for audacious shot-making in the middle to late overs but his talent is being wasted by poor management.
Buttler continually does things which stretch the boundaries of credibility to such an extent that former England captain Nasser Hussain, a man not known for hyperbole, reckons he is one of the greatest white-ball players of all time, up there with Kohli, MS Dhoni, AB de Villiers and Viv Richards..
Buttler is also getting better.
His consistency in the last two years has rubbished the notion that batting in the middle order is a hit and miss occupation.