Jos Buttler cannot wait to get behind the stumps for Lancashire as the big-hitting England batsman strives to further his development this summer.
The 23-year-old made the most eye-catching move of the domestic off-season when he swapped Somerset for the Red Rose, who are back in Division One after clinching the second tier title last year to win promotion at the first time of asking.
Buttler, who only returned to the country this month after representing England in the World Twenty20, had previously admitted the move away from Taunton was motivated by a desire to permanently occupy the role of wicketkeeper, a distinction unavailable to him at Somerset with Craig Kieswetter fulfilling that role.
Lancashire were willing to grant Buttler that opportunity, though, and the player himself is keenly awaiting his debut after being rested for the LV= County Championship opener, which Peter Moores’ team lost to Nottinghamshire by 45 runs.
“I’m really excited and that’s something that was one of the attractions of the move for me, keeping wicket all the time,” Buttler told ecb.co.uk.
“It’s going to help me take my wicketkeeping to the next level. I’m well aware that with both aspects of my cricket – batting and wicketkeeping – I’ve got lots of improvements to make and I’m really looking forward to doing that here.”
Buttler was born in Taunton and made his first-class debut for his home county in 2009. However, he harbours no regrets over his decision to join Lancashire, where he believes he can play a key part in their quest for domestic honours.
When asked if moving to the north-west was an easy call on his behalf, Buttler added: “In the end, yes. For many of the reasons talked about before it was the right move for me and a really exciting one.
“I’m expecting good things here; it’s going to be great for me and hopefully great for Lancashire too if I can be a part of their success here, in some winning teams and winning trophies.”
Buttler has not quite had the same pre-season preparations as some of his new team-mates with international duties in Australia, West Indies and Bangladesh keeping him occupied this winter.
It meant that on Lancashire’s media day last Friday he was introduced to the likes of Ashwell Prince for the very first time.
He explained: “I came in between Australia and the West Indies and met a few of the guys then, but the guys who were away I hadn’t met before.
“It’s great to meet new people, especially people like him (Prince), who have a wealth of cricket experience who I can learn from along the way this season.
“I’ve been playing cricket all winter so it’ll be easy to get straight back into it. But with new team-mates and new surroundings it may take me a little time just to find my feet and feel completely comfortable.
“But that’s a great part of cricket – from when you first start playing to now you’re playing in different teams all the time so it’s just getting stuck in.”
There were a few familiar faces for Buttler to identify with, such as England team-mates James Anderson and Stephen Parry, when Lancashire lined up for their team photos and the sheer size of the squad suggests silverware can be attained at Old Trafford in this campaign.
“You see it’s a really big squad from the photos so that obviously plays well on challenging on all fronts,” Buttler said.
“It’s a strong championship squad, back in Division One – which is rightly where a club like Lancashire should be. They played some good cricket last year to come up.
“I’m sure everyone here is waiting to show everyone in Division One what a strong force Lancashire are again.”
The arrival of Buttler, a certified match-winner whose ingenuity and power meant Somerset always challenged for one-day honours, would also appear to give Lancashire a great chance to end their 11-year wait for a white ball trophy too.
“There are not that many out-and-out one-day match winners around,” captain Glen Chapple noted.
“The game’s changed out of all recognition from 15-20 years ago and there’s the odd player now hitting it 10 rows back regularly and Jos is one of them. He’ll be a real strength in our one-day squad.”
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