Jos tipped to pass test with fly­ing colours

Belfast Telegraph - - SPORT - BY DAVID CLOUGH BY PHILIP DUN­CAN

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.

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