Alex Hales has tipped Jos Buttler to become an “outstanding” Test cricketer as the Lancashire wicketkeeper prepares to make his debut against India this weekend.
Buttler and Hales, widely-regarded as two of the most exciting English talents, have already produced a number of match-winning innings for their country in limited-overs cricket.
The step up to Test level will represent an altogether different challenge for Buttler, who averages 33.32 in 56 first-class matches, and joins a struggling England side who have failed to win any of their last 10 matches.
Speaking to Sky Sports ahead at the launch of the Royal London Cup competition, Hales believes Buttler’s attacking style of play is just what England need, and admits he also harbours hopes of joining the 23-year-old in the Test squad in the near future.
Hales said: “Jos is one of the most talented players I’ve ever seen to hit a cricket ball. I don’t know what people expect from him straight away, but once he finds his feet at Test level, he’ll be outstanding.
“I’ve still got the aim to play Test cricket even though my championship form last year was awful. I feel like I’ve found my form again with red-ball cricket and feel at home in championship cricket at the top of the order.
“I feel there is a place for attacking players in Test matches, as Kevin Pietersen showed for many years, and that’s definitely my aim down the line.”
Nottinghamshire will start their Royal London One-Day Cup campaign against Sussex as the 50-over format makes its return in place of last year’s Yorkshire Bank 40 this weekend.
Outlaws to be hunted?
Hales still sees Notts as the defending champions having lifted the YB40 trophy at Lord’s last September, and believes the Outlaws will be seen as a huge scalp by their rivals as a result.
He added: “The final is still as Lord’s and it’s still a one-day completion so I’d say we are defending champions, teams are going to be out to get us and we need to be on top of our game.
“Speaking to (director of cricket) Mick (Newell) at the start of the year, our aim is always to be challenging in all three forms come August and that’s what we’re doing. It shows the depth we’ve got in our squad, the young talent and the fact that we’re losing a few to England Lions games is always good for the club.”
With the ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand taking place early in 2015, Hales is hoping to secure his place at the top of the order for England in the 50-over format for the first time.
The 25-year-old is yet to represent England in ODIs despite some sensational innings in Twenty20 internationals and admits a World Cup place would cap an encouraging year.
“It’s going to be weird because I haven’t played the 50-over game in quite a while,” he added.
“It’s still a white-ball competition, the same sorts of rules, it’s just an extra 10 overs, it gives you longer at the crease and it makes perfect sense replicating the one-day format England play.
“My aim at the start of the year was to find my four-day form again and push towards a one day place for England’s 50-over stuff nearer the winter. One of them has gone well, I’ve found my Championship form and now I want to take that into the white-ball format.”