Jos Buttler has promised to remain faithful to his attacking instincts ahead of his England Test debut at a ground which holds fond memories.
The Lancashire wicketkeeper-batsman replaces the injured Matt Prior for the third Test against India at the Ageas Bowl tomorrow (11am).
It’s a venue where the 23-year-old coincidentally struck his maiden first-class century four years ago as he hit 144 for Somerset in a drawn game with Hampshire.
After his sensational ton in a one-day international against Sri Lanka recently, many felt the time was right to give him his opportunity at Test level.
Buttler himself now feels ready.
And he has vowed to stick to the aggressive method that earned him his chance.
He said: ‘Test cricket is going to be completely different.
‘Naturally I want to score runs and hit the ball and I don’t think things should change that much.
‘Obviously I have got to be a bit more selective and work out a method to bat longer periods of time, so I can put a few shots away that I might not need to play in Test cricket.
‘If you look around the world, there are people who play in that aggressive manner and do well.
‘When Kevin Pietersen played for England, people were excited to watch him because he was always looking to score runs.
‘David Warner has done that role for Australia very successfully.
‘It would be silly of me to go into my shell completely and curb all my natural instincts – because at the end of the day that is what has got me to where I have got to.’
After 69 limited-overs caps, dating back almost three years, Buttler has established himself as a first-choice selection in short formats.
But there is plenty of pressure on his shoulders with England struggling during a transitional phase.
Buttler said: ‘I’m not coming in expecting to be the one person who can fix English cricket, unfortunately.
‘It would be great if I can. That would be brilliant.
‘But I’m just coming in determined to be authentic, be myself, enjoy the occasion and look forward to helping England put in a performance.’
Buttler also admits it is an advantage not to have been a part of the team during their struggles up to now, while knowing most of his England team-mates as a limited-overs regular.
‘I come in pretty fresh,’ he said.
‘Obviously I haven’t been involved in Test cricket before, so I come in without that baggage.
‘For me, it’s going to be such a great occasion and I’m determined to get the best out of myself tomorrow.
‘I think that makes the transition a little bit easier for me. I know people and have built those relationships.
‘I’m not coming in with a “first day at school” feeling.
‘Test cricket is still a step into the unknown but it’s one I’m determined to enjoy.
‘Test cricket has been my ultimate goal for the whole of my career.’
But he is keen to test his skills and step up to the next level.
He said: ‘I’m still a work in progress.
‘I have areas to improve but at the same time I have got to think I’m 23 and far from the finished article.
‘Not many people probably are when they first start.’