sport

Buttler happy to skip IPL

Jos Buttler says he had an easy decision to make when it came to putting his new county, and his country, ahead of possible riches at the IPL.

Buttler was notable, alongside Ben Stokes, as one of England's rising stars who could potentially have made big money at the IPL but chose not to even throw his cap in the ring at this month's glitzy auction.

With the exception of Kevin Pietersen, free for the first time to play a full IPL campaign after England's decision to axe him from their future plans, all other contenders from this country went unsold at the auction.

Buttler and Stokes, even allowing for compromised availability, would surely have attracted more interest - having both already demonstrated their potential in England colours.

For the 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, however, it was abundantly clear where his priorities - and loyalties - lay.

Asked if it was easy to opt out of IPL, he said: "I think so, yes.

"Having changed counties and gone to play my cricket for Lancashire, I think I needed to show that loyalty to them."

Buttler is, along with Stokes, one of the great hopes for England's post-Pietersen era - set to begin on Tuesday with a warm-up 50-over match against the University of West Indies Vice-Chancellor's XI at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

Three one-day internationals against West Indies at the same venue, and then three Twenty20s in Barbados, will follow as England gear up for the short-format 'World Cup' in Bangladesh.

Buttler has yet to play for Lancashire, having left his native Somerset where he had to share wicketkeeping duties with Craig Kieswetter.

Modestly, he added: "There's obviously no guarantees you'd get picked up in the auction anyway.

"I think it was important for me to start the season with Lancashire."

Buttler has made his name to date in limited-overs cricket, but has already convinced some he is a Test player in waiting.

Asked if that might happen in the short term, he said: "Potentially, yes.

"But that comes down to performances. It's great that I'll be starting with Lancashire and keeping wicket, so giving myself the best chance I can to push my international career - and that's one of the main reasons I made the switch."

He is optimistic, rather than adamant, that he is ready for the Test arena.

"I hope so. You don't know exactly until you actually play Test match cricket.

"But I think I've made some really good improvements to my game in the last six to 12 months, and I hope I can keep doing that.

"Obviously moving to Lancashire is really exciting for me, when I get back in the summer.

"But first there is this really exciting six weeks ... playing the Twenty20 world champions in their backyard and then the 'World Cup'."

England (possible, v UWI Vice Chancellor's XI at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium): SCJ Broad (Captain), AD Hales, MM Ali, JE Root, BA Stokes, EJG Morgan, RS Bopara, JC Buttler (wkt), TT Bresnan, CJ Jordan, SD Parry