With just a half century to boast about in 13 earlier innings, Jos Buttler feared he might be playing his last Test in the match against Pakistan but the keeper-batsman laid those doubts to rest with a crucial knock under pressure to guide England to a memorable win.
Buttler, who made 75 and shared a century stand with Chris Woakes to help England win the first Test by three wickets on Saturday, had been struggling with the bat for quite some time.
Lapses with the wicket-keeping gloves at Old Trafford only added to the scrutiny around him, with critics calling for his head.
“At times there’s been some lonely nights thinking about it. Definitely thoughts go through your head. ‘Potentially if I don’t score any runs, I’ve played my last game’ – those are the kind of things that are in your head,” Buttler said after the win against Pakistan in the series opener here.
“I’m aware I didn’t keep well, I missed some chances and at this level you can’t afford to do that no matter how many runs you score. You’ve got to be better, I know that,” he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
He said he kept believing in himself and was pleased to have made a contribution to the team’s cause.
“But you’ve got to try and shut them out and focus on the here and now and play the situation. I’m pleased that I was able to do that.”
Buttler revealed that captain Joe Root reminded him his ability to chase down targets and advised him to take it as a one-day game.
“Joe actually said before, ‘remember who you are, you enjoy chasing targets down, try to limit it to a one-day game’,” said the 29-year-old.
“A game like today really suited me and suited my eye, in terms of the run chase and breaking it down to more of a one-day game and trying to tick runs off and get us to the finishing line.”
Root, on his part, was all praise of Buttler for coming out on top under pressure.
“It says a huge amount about him as a person to carry that and be able to either use it, or park it only he will know which way he did that and to play in that manner was exceptional,” Root said.
“To have that external pressure as well, I’m chuffed to bits with him.