Buttler seeking to emulate star duo
8:36am Saturday 26th July 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Jos Buttler has watched Adam Gilchrist and Matt Prior set the template for the modern Test wicketkeeper-batsman - and will be doing all he can to emulate them.
The great Gilchrist finished his famous career for Australia with a Test average of 47.60 after 96 matches, at a formidable strike rate of almost 82.
Prior may well have played his last Test for England after deciding to sit out the rest of the summer to address injury issues, therefore clearing the way for Buttler to make his debut against India at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday.
If Prior does not return, his 4,099 runs at 40.18 is another fine body of work for any all-rounder.
Buttler knows the folly of early comparisons between his potential and established deeds such as that - but is happy to acknowledge Gilchrist in particular sets the standard to which all international wicketkeepers can aspire.
"I think he obviously changed the game, the role of a wicketkeeper-batsman," said the 23-year-old, about to add a first Test cap to his 69 in limited-overs international cricket.
"I remember him a lot, growing up, when Australia were the strongest side in the world by a long way - and he was a massive part of that.
"Being a young batsman-wicketkeeper, he was an ideal man to be your hero growing up and to try to copy.
"If I could emulate him, that would be outstanding.
"But he's obviously set the benchmark very high for everyone - where all most young batsmen-wicketkeepers try to get to."
The example set by Prior is another which gives Buttler confidence.
He was a Taunton schoolboy when Prior made a scintillating hundred on debut against West Indies at Lord's in 2007.
But that and other innings, as well as Prior's successful struggle to prove himself equally adept behind the stumps, are relevant to a cricketer who accepts his own wicketkeeping is as yet merely a "work in progress".
"That's obviously a plus for me that people have taken similar routes in international cricket," he added.
"Adam Gilchrist changed the game for wicketkeepers to start with. If you look round the world, batsman-wicketkeeper has to go hand in hand - you can't have one without the other.
"I saw that if I was to realise my dream of playing for England, I probably needed to be keeping wicket."
Prior's career profile was not one of seamless progress.
"I know that if you look at Matt's career he came in and batted brilliantly," added Buttler.
"People questioned his glovework, but he (became) England's best wicketkeeper-batsman.
"It's good for me that I know someone who (went on to be) that good for England was not the finished article (to start with) either.
"That gives me a bit of confidence.
"He is 32 now, and how many years he has been England's best wicketkeeper?
"I am 23 and (I've) still got that time to improve my game and get to a level he got to."