England head coach Chris Silverwood hopes Jos Buttler’s return to form in the Twenty20 series finale against South Africa carries over into next month’s two Tests in Sri Lanka.
Buttler hit 57 off 29 balls in the five-wicket win in Centurion as England secured a 2-1 series victory.
The wicketkeeper had a top score of only 43 in five Tests over the winter.
“Hopefully he’ll take a lot of confidence from it and bring that with him to Sri Lanka,” said Silverwood.
“Runs breed confidence within a batsman – to see him come off with a smile on his face in the way he did was superb.”
Buttler’s place had looked under threat for March’s tour of Sri Lanka, which includes Tests in Galle and Colombo.
The 29-year-old struggled in four Tests against South Africa – returning scores of 12, 22, 29, 23, 1, 20 and 8 – and averages 22.05 in Tests since the start of last year’s Ashes.
Silverwood said dropping Buttler from the Test squad was “not in my mind”, but England have also recalled wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, who was player of the series in the 3-0 whitewash win when England last toured Sri Lanka in 2018.
Buttler was rested for the drawn one-day series in South Africa, before returning to open in the T20s, scoring 15 and two before his half-century.
Silverwood reiterated England captain Eoin Morgan’s backing of Buttler continuing as an opener in T20, rather than in a middle-order role.
“He’s a very, very destructive player so we want him to face as many balls as he can,” he said.
“Hopefully, this score will give him the confidence just to keep moving forward.”
Silverwood said England are close to putting together their squad for the T20 World Cup, which takes place in Australia in October and November.
Fast bowler Jofra Archer missed the South Africa T20 series because of an elbow injury, while Somerset opener Tom Banton was left out after featuring in the 3-2 victory in New Zealand in October.
“We played what we believe is our strongest side in these three T20 games,” said Silverwood.
“The more they’ve played together, the better they’ve got – we’ve seen the improvement throughout the series so I don’t think we’re a million miles away.
“There’s Banton, Archer to come back and then we’ll keep an eye on who’s doing well out there as well.
“But we’ll obviously refocus now on the Test series against Sri Lanka and look to pick up where we left off here.”
Article courtesy of BBC Sport