Will Jos Buttler's T20I knock end debates over his position in the batting order?


Buttler made his career-best 83 off 52 balls in England's eight-wicket win. He now averages at 51.23, with a strike-rate of 153.10, and at the top of the order in T20I cricket.

Sky Sports' Rob Key mentioned before the Tuesday game that Buttler's best position is still as a middle-order 'finisher' and stood by his opinion after the match-winning innings.

"You're making it out that I don't think he can play," Key said. "I said at the start that he would score some runs there [opening] and make me look stupid, I completely see what England is doing, and I think fine. After the scores, give me as much stick as you like, but I won't change my mind."
Stuart Broad believes, "It puts the debate to bed; he opens the batting in the World Cup. He is our best white-ball cricketer," Broad added, "He wins games of cricket for England, and you want him facing as many balls as possible."

Key and Nasser Hussain discussed Buttler's position as England's batting lineup should be decided in consideration of the T20 World Cup in India in October.
Rob Key expressed his opinion on the same with Sky Sports Cricket, said: "This series is all about [England] trying to find out the roles for their best players, put  all the pieces in the right spot. And that's interesting because I would never have Buttler down as an opener. I know his record is fantastic, and he will probably now smash a hundred in this series, but there are so many other options. I would have never put him up there in the first place. I'm not saying I'm right on that, but if I was an opener for England, I would love the fact that Buttler is still to come in. I wouldn't bat him at six, I would have him floating. I think that role works with a player as good as Buttler."

Talking about Dawid Malan, Nasser Hussain said, "Malan, historically, in his first 20 balls, doesn't go big, but he catches up and goes ballistic after that - he is the number one ranked T20 batsman in the world for a reason. But the problem with those stats is he has done it in Australia, England, New Zealand, and South Africa, where the pitches stay good for 20 overs so he can catch up. In India, he can't afford to be using up deliveries in the powerplay and then get out. Malan has earned the right to play all of these five games and then go away to Kings XI Punjab in the IPL and work out a method [of batting in India]. I would bank on him learning and getting better, but if he doesn't, England might have to think about changing it."

Rob Key adds that Malan could be under pressure: "I feel that Malan, no matter what he does, is under pressure. He could argue that's ridiculous, his record is so good - yet, still, after one bad game, we're talking about him. This is what they [England] have to try to work out somehow. Who is the best opener? Where does Alex Hales slot in, if he comes back? Malan, does he play?"

Is England considering other options? Hussain commented, "They could go for Hales, who is an explosive player in the powerplay. In world cricket this year, he has the second-best strike-rate in the powerplay, at 179.

"Rumours are that things are thawing a bit between Hales and [captain] Eoin Morgan, but other rumors are he isn't getting back in. I don't know the story, but he can bat in a powerplay.

"Another option is Root. If England wants a Virat Kohli type to knock the ball around; he is a brilliant player of spin and, in the last T20 World Cup in India [in 2016], he averaged 50 at a strike-rate of nearly 150.

"A third option is Stokes. He looks like he needs a role in T20 cricket. He is batting at number six, and is England's sixth bowler."
According to Rob Key, "England is not getting the best out of their best cricketer in all formats [Stokes], the hero from Headingley. If you look at Stokes' stats in international T20 cricket, the one thing that is striking to me is, he hasn't even scored a fifty. The way he can play, one of England's most destructive and powerful players, and yet he hasn't got a fifty. You have to look at the positions in which he bats, as generally, he is coming in later on in T20 cricket. In the IPL, he has two hundreds. One of them as an opener, while one came at number five in the order, but he was batting inside the first two overs. His game is more suited to batting earlier on in the innings. We need to find a way somehow to get more out of Stokes."

It will be interesting to watch out for England's batting order and their preparation for the upcoming T20 World Cup. England is at the top of the T20 rankings and expected to be a splendid competition to other teams.