Jos tipped to pass test with flying colours
ENGLAND’S new national selector Ed Smith believes it is “the perfect moment” to reintroduce Jos Buttler to Test cricket.
Buttler made a surprise return to Smith’s first 12-man squad to face Pakistan in the first of a twoTest series at Lord’s next week at the expense of James Vince.
Vince’s match-saving, unbeaten double-century for Hampshire on the eve of the selection meeting seemed sure to keep him in the frame — but Smith has instead been persuaded by Buttler’s wonderful run of form in the Indian Premier League.
Smith said: “Jos Buttler is an outstanding talent, who is already a central part of England’s white ball teams.
“The selection panel feels that this is the perfect moment to reintroduce Jos to Test cricket, where he has already enjoyed some success, including a stint playing as a specialist batsman at number seven.
“Jos is playing with great confidence and flair, and he will bring unique qualities to the Test team.”
Buttler, who played the last of his previous 18 Tests in December 2016 but is an inked-in white-ball player for his country, will be back as a specialist batsman — with Jonny Bairstow retaining the wicketkeeping gloves.
Opener Mark Stoneman hangs on to his position and there is also a potential debut for Somerset off-spinner Dom Bess.
Twenty-year-old Bess, whose opportunity comes after his Somerset team-mate Jack Leach broke his thumb in the nets on Monday, has made just 16 firstclass appearances to date.
Smith said: “Dom Bess has made an excellent start to his first-class career. He has impressed everyone with his performances for Somerset and England representative teams.
“With Jack Leach missing out due to injury, the selection panel wanted to invest opportunity in a young spin bowler. Dom’s strong form, character and all-round abilities presented a compelling case for selection.” FELIPE Massa will be making his return to motorsport in next season’s ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
The Brazilian has signed a three-year deal with Monaco-based outfit Venturi, which is co-owned by Hollywood star Leonardo Di Caprio.
Massa will enter the Championship in Season Five when Formula E relaunches with its futuristic new Gen2 car which will see the drivers take to the street tracks capable of a top speed of 280kph, and for the first time boasting enough battery capacity to complete an entire race.
He said: “For some years now, I’ve been clear about my interest in this innovative, forward-looking discipline that’s developing exponentially. I especially like the format of race meetings, the city-centre circuits and the contact with the fans.
“I’m very happy to be joining the Venturi Formula E Team and the Formula E Championship, which has become a magnificent competition in a short space of time. I can’t wait to take part in testing at the end of the month.”
Venturi founder and president Gildo Pastor said: “It’s an honour to welcome Felipe to the Venturi family. I needed him, his experience, his speed, and his openness.
“Felipe’s 15 years’ experience in Formula 1 will give us a boost. With his humble nature, I know he will listen to the team and master the discipline quickly.”
Venturi will host Massa in a private testing session at the end of the month where the 37-yearold will have to concentrate on getting comfortable with the feel of an electric vehicle, learning street tracks and studying a unique driving system which incorporates battery management rather than concentrating on fuel and tyres.
Massa is the latest big name to arrive, following former F1 world champion Nico Rosberg joining as an investor. The German will become the first driver to publicly demonstrate the Gen2 car at Saturday’s Berlin E-Prix.