Root insists only a ‘really unique situation’ will see Buttler replaced as wicketkeeper in Sri Lanka


Joe Root insists only a ‘really unique situation’ will see Jos Buttler replaced as wicketkeeper in Sri Lanka… despite Ben Foakes winning Player of the Series the last time England’s Test team toured the country

  • Ben Foakes scored a debut century in Galle when England last toured Sri Lanka
  • But the Surrey wicketkeeper has not played a Test match for almost two years 
  • Jos Buttler’s most recent Test innings was a career-best 152 against Pakistan 
  • And while avoiding grand selection statements, captain Joe Root backed Buttler 

Joe Root has backed Jos Buttler to hold off the challenge of Surrey’s Ben Foakes and keep the gloves as England embark on a gruelling year.

Foakes was Player of the Series when the Test team last visited Sri Lanka 15 months ago, scoring a century on debut at Galle and underlining his reputation as one of world cricket’s smartest operators behind the stumps. Yet he has not played a Test for almost two years.

And while Root was reluctant to make any grand statements about selection before the two-Test series in Galle starting on January 14, he went out of his way to support Buttler, whose most recent Test innings was a career-best 152 against Pakistan in August.

Ben Foakes has not played a Test match for nearly two years

Joe Root has backed Jos Buttler (left) to hold off the challenge of Surrey’s Ben Foakes (right) and keep the gloves for England in Sri Lanka

Foakes was Player of the Series when the Test team last visited Sri Lanka 15 months ago, but has not played a Test in almost two years

Foakes was Player of the Series when the Test team last visited Sri Lanka 15 months ago, but has not played a Test in almost two years

‘What I will say is we’ve got Jos Buttler coming off the back of 150 in probably some of the best form you’ve seen him in in Test cricket,’ said the England captain. 

‘As far as I’m concerned, it will have to be a real unique situation for that to change.

‘Jos, as a senior member of the squad in great form, was an integral part of our success in the back end of the summer. 

‘I’m really excited for him to carry that form forward. For Ben, at some point there is a likelihood that an opportunity might arise in the tour, and when he gets that opportunity he’s got to take it.’

Meanwhile, Buttler's most recent Test innings was a career-best 152 against Pakistan in August

Meanwhile, Buttler’s most recent Test innings was a career-best 152 against Pakistan in August

And England captain Joe Root (right) went out of his way to publicly support Buttler (left)

And England captain Joe Root (right) went out of his way to publicly support Buttler (left)