DAVE Nosworthy has admitted that Jos Buttler's excellent innings at The Oval came as a relief, following the England man's fraught build-up to the new campaign.
Buttler, pictured, and team-mate Craig Kieswetter came under close scrutiny in the lead-up to the new county season, with both vying for the Somerset wicketkeeping role as they look to further their respective England ambitions.
Kieswetter has been given the gloves in Somerset's two LV= County Championship matches so far – and is expected to keep them for the Division One clash with champions Warwickshire, which begins at Taunton today. And, after a pre-season in which Buttler's long-term Somerset future was repeatedly questioned, director of cricket Nosworthy was relieved to the 22-year-old score 94 against Surrey last week.
"It was a relief, to be honest, because he has had so much on his mind and on his shoulders," said Nosworthy.250 Business Cards Only £13.95 Delivered - www.myprint-247.co.uk
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"For a guy to have that, particularly at Jos's age, is not easy. You can only support and guide him as much as you can, but he came through superbly last week, with one hell of an innings. It really was a high-quality innings.
"With time petering out, I think he was trying to get on with things maybe a little bit more than he should have – and went for the 100 in one stroke and was caught.
"But it wasn't about that, it was about him spending time at the crease, showing application and being strong of mind under serious pressure, both on and off the field."
Somerset have lost one and drawn one so far this season, following up their opening defeat at Durham with a draw at Surrey.
They will face another difficult challenge when they host the champions, Warwickshire, starting today – but Nosworthy is convinced things will go his team's way soon.
"Durham was frustrating – we keep saying that it's the one that got away, because we know we should have won that," said Nosworthy.
"That's gone now, and last week we put together a solid performance, so this week it's important we produce another solid performance.
"If we are able to apply pressure and be patient at times, the result will hopefully take care of itself."
Somerset have named a 13-man squad, which includes the same 11 players who drew at The Oval, plus Craig Overton and spinner Jack Leach.
That means Arul Suppiah again misses out, having been dropped for the trip to Surrey in order to accommodate the returning Nick Compton.
Somerset (from): M Trescothick (capt), N Compton, A Petersen, J Hildreth, C Kieswetter (wkt), J Buttler, P Trego, A Thomas, J Overton, G Dockrell, S Kirby, C Overton, J Leach.