What will Jos Buttler do next? That is the question on the lips of cricket lovers up and down the country after he made a 50-ball hundred against Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday, the second fastest England ODI hundred of all time, Cricbuzz reports.
Buttler also has the quickest of course, off just 46 balls in 2015, and he believes he has it in him to beat that record. Not many of those who saw Buttler in Southampton would bet against him doing so.
Six players have scored an ODI hundred faster than the 46 balls Buttler managed against Pakistan in the UAE four years ago. The quickest? AB de Villiers' remarkable 31-ball effort against West Indies in 2015. "Absolutely. Definitely," Buttler said when asked if he could beat his own England record. "We've seen other guys around the world show it's possible." There was not a flicker of doubt that he can go quicker.
It could come soon, too. This was the sort of innings that Buttler is producing with more and more regularity as he enjoys the most consistent period of his career. Just five ODIs ago, he scored a 60-ball hundred en route to 150 against West Indies. In the last twelve months, his statistics read: 681 runs at 75.66 with a strike rate of 128 from 20 matches. He has three of his eight one-day hundreds in that time too. Buttler, also now reinstated as an important part of the Test team, is a player at the peak of his powers.
He has previously credited his recent good form with his spell at the IPL for Rajasthan Royals in 2018 and how that opened his eyes to the type of consistency he wanted to strive for. Since then, he hasn't looked back but something was stirring even before he went to India, ever since he made 100 not out from 83 balls against Australia at the SCG last January. "That hundred I got in Sydney was probably the best I played in an England shirt," he said.
"That IPL season gave me huge amounts of confidence to play in that way and ride the back of that wave for all of last summer. Realising that you can keep doing it. There are other guys around the world who you watch and you're very envious of. Joe Root is a great example in our own changing room of a guy who does it day in, day out. That was a big realisation for me that I should chase that more than I probably was.
"In the last few years, I've had some brilliant experiences. A couple more years older and worked things out a bit better, managing to drip feed them into my game really well. Really chase that consistency and want to perform every day. That's been a big part of the last few years to try and be more consistent. When you manage to do that a couple of times, it breeds the confidence that you can do it for an elongated period of time."
Buttler has recently become a father for the first time. Baby Georgia is doing well and she was at the Ageas Bowl to witness his brilliance. "I'm sure she remembers," he joked. Upon reaching three figures, he did a rocking motion with his bat, the time-honoured celebration for those sportsmen and women who have recently had a child. "It's a great new addition to life and I'm really enjoying that," he said. "It puts cricket in perspective a bit. It's a special day."