Jos Buttler has been ruled out of the third T20I and the forthcoming three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka due to a calf injury. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) issued an official statement on Friday confirming the news. Buttler tore his calf in the first T20I and will now travel home to start his recovery.
Buttler felt tightness and pain following his match-winning performance of 68 not out in the first T20I, which gave the hosts an eight-wicket victory. The No. 1 T20I batsman, Dawid Malan, has been called up to the ODI team as a replacement for Buttler.
“Buttler underwent an MRI scan in Cardiff on Thursday morning, which revealed a small tear. Yorkshire batsman Dawid Malan has been added to the ODI squad for the forthcoming Sri Lanka Royal London ODI Series,” stated the ECB statement.
England had previously indicated that they could use the Sri Lanka T20Is to test things out, with Jonny Bairstow coming up to open in Butler’s unavailability – regardless of the fact that he struck a three-ball duck as England battled early in their pursuit of 112 runs. Liam Livingstone, who scored an unbeaten 29 in the win, is a frequent opener in T20 cricket and may potentially fill in for Buttler.
Sam Billings eyeing a permanent middle-order spot in ODIs in Jos Buttler’s absence
With Jos Buttler unavailable for the upcoming three ODIs, Jonny Bairstow and Sam Billings will be in contention for the position of the wicket-keeper batsman.
Billings made his first ODI century last summer against Australia at Manchester and would be eyeing for a permanent spot in the middle order irrespective of Buttler’s presence. He, however, agreed that making it to England lineup is a tough task considering the strength and balance in the team but he will still back himself owing to his recent form.
“In terms of ODIs, I had a really good summer last year and averaged 83 in that format so I would be pretty disappointed if I didn’t get a gig but this team is a very hard one to get into,” said Sam Billings.