Jos Buttler accepts England’s leading stars face a balancing act to keep themselves in peak condition throughout what could be a golden year for the sport.
England begin their Test tour of the Caribbean with a two-day warm-up against a Cricket West Indies President’s XI in Barbados on Tuesday, a low-key start to a potentially transformative 2019.
A home World Cup followed by an Ashes visit from Australia equal arguably the biggest summer for cricket in a generation but there is plenty more on the agenda for the likes of Buttler, whose broad range of skills leave him in near constant demand.
He has just finished another successful stint Down Under at the Big Bash, heads off to represent Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League at the end of March and could theoretically feature in three Tests, 11 one-day internationals and four Twenty20s for England before the main events of the domestic season even get under way.
His is an extreme case but workloads across the board are heavy, a point Buttler insists has not been lost on those in charge.
“It is a massive year and we have to be fresh and excited going into the big events,” he said.
“There is lots of cricket coming and one of the things both captains (Joe Root and Eoin Morgan) and management have done is look after the players which is really important.
“We’ve talked about about this year being massive for the game. We don’t want people to be too tired but there’s a fine balance between doing too much and too little.
“We only have a short career and you want to play as much as you can. There are amazing possibilities around the world but you have to balance your time well and it’s important for myself especially to have time away from the game.
“So it’s a discussion for everyone, being open and honest and trying to find the best solutions.”
England have agreed to play 12-a-side in their first practice match, which will take place at the 3Ws Oval against opponents coached by former West Indies captain Floyd Reifer.
The local team will contain Test capped bowlers Alzarri Joseph and Miguel Cummins and if England’s exploratory sessions in the middle over the past 48 hours are anything to go by, the pitch could be both unpredictable and unwelcoming to batsmen.
As such, Buttler is sticking to the task at hand while despite the excitement ahead in the coming months.
“We’re all in a very fortunate position to potentially play a part in a huge period of time for England cricket. They’re all very romantic ideas but the end product comes from hard work in the years before that and from doing some good stuff now.
“I’m very aware of how quickly things can change in cricket and if you look too far ahead you can come unstuck.”
Also on duty in Barbados is opening batsman Keaton Jennings, sporting a fully shaven head despite the beating sun above.
Jennings’ new look is helping raise money for MacMillan Cancer Support, a charity close to his heart.
“I come from a long family history of cancer,” said the 26-year-old, who has already raised more than £5000.
“My auntie is going through chemo for next two months and I’ll keep my head shaved and support her through what is a difficult time. If it helps raise some more money and helps raise awareness, that’s fantastic.”