Following Eoin Morgan’s retirement, Jos Buttler was chosen as England’s new limited-overs captain.

“Crikey, this bloke is a leader.” That was the view of Paul Farbrace, England’s assistant coach at the time, when Buttler filled in for Eoin Morgan during an ODI series in Bangladesh in October 2016, his first leadership encounter in senior cricket.

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England, who were lacking Morgan and Alex Hales issues of security, won the series 2-1 under Buttler’s leadership, battling a partisan home crowd as well as heat and humidity to win the series in Chattogram after a triumph and a loss in Mirpur. Buttler’s reaction to Bangladesh’s loud celebrations following his dismissal was possibly the most telling moment.

“I think he showed the world that there is more to Jos Buttler than meets the eye,” ESPNcricinfo quotes Farbrace. “There’s the quiet, nice image that the outside world sees but there’s also a steely, driven, passionate bloke that people don’t see. In that series, we saw that Jos Buttler has got teeth – and they’re not just for smiling.”

“I remember the press asking me about it,” Buttler mentioned this week on the High Performance Podcast. “I said, ‘maybe you don’t know me as well as you think you do.’ That side to me doesn’t get talked about as much [but] it’s incredibly important. I really like that I have it.”

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“It’s that determined, competitive side. The best thing you could do is come and watch me play warm-up football: I run around like Roy Keane, shouting at people and trying to hack people’s legs. I do have a different side to me,” he added.

Buttler commanded his side for the first three times on the Bangladesh tour, out of 14 total: nine ODIs and five T20Is. Apart from that, he has only led twice at domestic level, both times for Manchester Originals in the Hundred last summer, and has not been a recurring captain since his days in Somerset’s age-group sides.

Despite his inexperience, he has been cultivated as Morgan’s successor for almost seven years. Morgan chose him as his vice-captain for the 2015 World Cup; he has previously served in the same role in the Test set-up under Joe Root and is the current at Rajasthan Royals.

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For many years, younger players coming into the squad have looked up to Buttler as a model of what is needed at the highest level of the sport. “He leads by example in everything he does,” says fellow teammate Matt Parkinson. “He’s the best player in the world, isn’t he? He’s a freak in the gym, he’s an unbelievable runner, he always trains so hard and hits loads of balls.”

“He just keeps it really simple. The main thing is that he makes you feel good about yourself and your game, even if you’re not feeling it or you’ve not had a good over. If you’re one of his main bowlers, you’ll always feel backed by him, even if you’ve had a bad day. He’s very calm and doesn’t let anything faze him,” Parkinson adds.

Buttler made two significant off-field contributions that highlighted his leadership role throughout England’s rise from no-hopers to world champs. The first incident occurred during a training course at Trent Bridge in 2016, the day before an ODI against Pakistan: boundary-riders were repositioning themselves to throw the ball while controlled, but Buttler disrupted the session, inviting them to be more aggressive, picking up and throwing in one action if they got comfortable doing so.

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The second came at Dunedin in 2018, in the fourth One-Day International of England’s five-match series versus New Zealand. England were 267 for one after 37.3 overs but fell to 335 for nine and were defeated with three balls to go thanks to Ross Taylor’s 181 not out. England coach Trevor Bayliss led the debrief, wondering whether the middle order had been risky in their shot choices.

“Jos spoke up and said ‘no, this is the way we need to keep playing’,” Farbrace recollects, “and Trevor was very comfortable with that. The next game, we went to Christchurch for the decider, won the game, and it was immediately clear that the conversation in Dunedin had been a really important one.”

Buttler’s assignment as captain in the Hundred was very different from the one he will face with England: getting a squad of players together for the first time and assisting them in adjusting to a new format with new regulations. He only played two games until joining England on Test duty, but he left an indelible mark.

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“I’d come into the Hundred as a wildcard player and was really nervous,” Manchester Originals teammate Fred Klaassen reveals, “but he made me feel completely relaxed and backed me all the way. In the first game, he had a suggestion at the back end of the innings and rather than saying ‘do this’, it was more like ‘what do you think of this?’”

“That made it so much easier than having someone telling you exactly what to do. He empowered me and backed me 100%: he gave me that responsibility so that if I did fail, I failed on my own terms. Even in that short time, he demonstrated how calm he was as a captain,” Klaassen adds.

Despite having only spent a week with Buttler in the Hundred, Klaassen felt absolutely comfortable contacting him for assistance on a personal matter following the third Netherlands-England ODI in Amstelveen last week. “To me, Jos is an absolute gun and has that aura,” Klaassen states, “but he also brings humility as well which was really refreshing.”

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Buttler’s biggest difficulty will be regulating his tasks: he keeps wicket in both white-ball formats and appears poised for a more recurring role at No. 4 in ODI cricket, as well as opening the batting for England in T20Is. Nothing in his career to date implies that his form will suffer as a result of the increased burden: his ODI record is moderately higher as captain, his T20I record is slightly worse.

Buttler stated that it was crucial for him to “try and be myself” as captain after standing in for Morgan in the third ODI in the Netherlands, in which he struck 86 not out off 64 balls. “I’m not Eoin,” he clarified. “I can’t try to be him, so I’ll just have to – when I get to do it – try to be myself and be open to learning about it.”

England’s new white-ball coach, Matthew Mott, stated that Buttler “seamlessly transitioned” in that encounter after Morgan was ruled out due to a groin injury; he will be hoping that the same is true for the full-time role.