England captain Joe Root said on Wednesday that Jos Buttler will return to the playing XI for the 5th and final Test against India at Old Trafford in Manchester from September 10. The skipper also confirmed that Buttler will reclaim vice-captaincy from Moeen Ali for the series finale.
Jos Buttler missed the 4th Test as he spent time with his family during the birth of his second child. Jonny Bairstow took up the role of the wicketkeeper while Ali was entrusted with vice-captain. Buttler will reclaim the gloves as well as the role of Root's deputy.
"He is the vice captain of this team. He is a senior player and he is integral to what we are about," Root said on Wednesday.
Buttler has struggled to contribute in the lower-middle order, managing just 72 runs in 3 innings but Root threw his weight behind the wicketkeeper-batsman. The skipper also said Jonny Bairstow knew the circumstances in which he had to take up the gloves for the 4th Test.
"I know his output in terms of runs in this series has not been as high as he would like or as we would like but we know what a great player he is and how important he can be to turning a Test match and that is the reason behind it," Root said.
"I think Jonny knew exactly what the scenario was when he was given that opportunity to keep wicket last week. Whenever there is change within Test cricket, people left out or moved around, it is part and parcel of playing at the highest level. He has been a big part of what we have been about as a squad for a long time now and will understand it. So as I say Jos is the vice captain, he will come back in and I expect him to perform," he added.
Will England play Jack Leach in Manchester?
Engand are in a must-win situation to save the series and Joe Root has not ruled out the possibility of playing 2 spinners in Manchester. Notably, Jack Leach was added to the England squad ahead of the 5th Test.
"I've not seen the pitch as yet but what you can get sometimes here at Old Trafford, it can spin and that can be an option we have to look at with two spinners.
"Leach has done some fine things for England, you look at how he has performed this winter and even before that as well. We all know what he is capable of and we know he is a fine player. I am sure that in himself should give him a huge amount of confidence," Root added.
1st Test, Galle, 16-18 Apr 2023
3rd T20I, Queenstown, 08 Apr 2023
Only Test, Mirpur, 04-07 Apr 2023
2nd T20I, Dunedin, April 05, 2023