Tom Banton dreaming of England as Jos Buttler comparisons grow

Compared to Buttler at the same stage of his career after scoring two hundreds and three half-centuries in the successful Royal London One-Day Cup campaign, the talented 20-year-old has since made a seamless transition into red-ball cricket

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Tom Banton goes into Somerset’s match with Nottinghamshire at Taunton, starting on Sunday, as one of the most talked about players in the Specsavers County Championship.

Compared to Jos Buttler at the same stage of his career after scoring two hundreds and three half-centuries in the successful Royal London One-Day Cup campaign, the talented 20-year-old has since made a seamless transition into red-ball cricket.

Scores of 79 and 70 in this week’s victory over Hampshire at Taunton took Banton’s Championship average in four appearances to 42, the best of any Somerset batsman, just ahead of another young gun George Bartlett.

The emergence of both players has been a major factor in raising genuine hopes of a first-ever Championship title and Banton is not afraid to talk about his ambitions to play at the very highest level.

“I want to play for England as soon as possible,” he said. “That is the dream, but I also want to play in the Indian Premier League because I love the thought of batting in front of huge crowds on good wickets.

“It’s a real compliment to be compared to someone a brilliant as Jos Buttler, but I don’t think too much about it because I know that on bad days in professional cricket I am going to attract some less favourable comments.

“I aim to stay level-headed either way. If I take too much notice of the praise I can get ahead of myself, so I try to stay in the moment.

“I haven’t modelled myself on Jos, but of course I watch him and think, ‘Wow! What a player’. I do try to bat like him in white-ball cricket.

“From what I have heard, he played a lot of hockey as a youngster and that is a sport I played from the age of four through to 17.”

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Banton has impressed hugely during Somerset's successful season thus far

Banton might be forgiven for having his head turned by comparisons with Buttler so early in his career.

But one person who scoffs at such a theory is Marcus Trescothick, who has spent hours working with him in the nets.

“Knowing Tom as I do, he will love being mentioned in the same breath as Jos and thrive on it,” said the former England batsman.

“It will only increase his confidence. There is so much more to come from him and it is great to see players like Tom and George Bartlett starting to fulfil their potential.”

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Banton averaged 41 in this season’s Royal London One-Day Cup, scoring 107 in the opening group match against Kent, 112 in the quarter-final against Worcestershire and 69 in the final at Lord’s against Hampshire.

The last of those innings was witnessed by a large television audience as well as a packed crowd and marked Banton as one of the most exciting young talents in English cricket.

Meanwhile, Craig Overton is still battling the groin injury which kept him out of the past two Championship games and will require a fitness test before Notts match.

Somerset go into it 15 points clear of second-placed Essex with six games left. Josh Davey and Jack Brooks are added to the squad.

Courtesy of the ECB reporters network

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