IPL 11

After impressive IPL stint, Buttler recalled by England for first Pakistan Test

The 27-year-old has had a frustrating 18-match career in Test cricket, with his last appearance in the format coming against India at Chennai in December 2016.

England recalled batsman Jos Buttler in a 12-man squad announced Tuesday for the first Test against Pakistan at Lord’s on May 24.

In the first England squad since former Test batsman Ed Smith took over as national selector, Somerset off-spinner Dom Bess was given a first call-up.

But, after England’s tour series losses in Australia and New Zealand, top-order batsman James Vince was dropped after a run of low scores at Test level despite the Hampshire batsman making an unbeaten 201 against Somerset on Monday.

Buttler, widely regarded as one of the most talented English batsmen of his generation, last played Test cricket when he batted down the order.

The 27-year-old has had a frustrating 18-match career in Test cricket, with his last appearance in the format against India at Chennai in December 2016.

Having made an impact at international level as a wicket-keeper/batsman, Buttler has been selected for the first of a two-Test series against Pakistan purely as a batsman.

Jonny Bairstow, who succeeded Buttler as England’s Test keeper, has retained his place behind the stumps having become a mainstay of skipper Joe Root’s side with both bat and gloves.

Buttler is currently playing for the Rajasthan Royals in the Twenty20 Indian Premier League, where his last three scores have been 95, 94 and 81.

‘Outstanding talent’

But he has not played first-class cricket for Lancashire, his English county, since the end of last season.

“Jos Buttler is an outstanding talent, who is already a central part of England’s white ball teams,” said Smith in an England and Wales Cricket Board statement.

“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.”

Bess, 20, has played just 16 first-class matches, having made his debut for Somerset against Pakistan at Taunton in 2016.

But he starred for MCC in the Champion County match against Essex in March where he took eight wickets in the match and scored a century in a victory over the county Champions in Barbados.

An injury to Somerset team-mate Jack Leach has paved the way for Bess’s inclusion as the lone specialist spinner in a squad after England decided against recalling Moeen Ali.

“Dom Bess has made an excellent start to his first-class career,” said Smith.

“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.”

England 12-man squad to play Pakistan in the first Test at Lord’s, May 24-28:
Joe Root (Yorkshire, capt), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire, wkt), Dom Bess (Somerset), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Alastair Cook (Essex), Dawid Malan (Middlesex), Ben Stokes (Durham), Mark Stoneman (Surrey), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

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This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.