Jos Buttler was one of the victims of England’s disastrous Ashes tour down under. He was one of the many big names dropped for the West Indian tour.
With the IPL, Buttler has an excellent chance to put all that behind him. He must hope to continue his romance with the tournament in which he has a stunning record – 1,968 runs from 65 games with an average of 35.14 and a strike rate of 150.
Buttler, one of three players retained for auction by Rajasthan Royals, is delighted to be back in India for the IPL.
“Every time you show up in India for the IPL there’s a sense of excitement and a real buzz around the tournament, so it’s great to be back in the country,” he said. “It has become my second home. I’ve spent a lot of time here and the kindness of the people and the passion for cricket always amazes me.”
He said he was flattered that he was being held by the Royals. “There was only a certain number of players who could stay with the franchise, so it was quite flattering to be offered to keep,” he said. “I have always enjoyed playing for this franchise and have very fond memories of it. Obviously, I knew the franchise had put their trust in me, along with Sanju (Samson) and Yash (Yashasvi Jaiswal).
“There were a lot of talks that took place before the auction, and we were just focused on creating a strong team, covering all the bases you need to win the tournament. Another aspect was how wonderful my family and myself have been looked after – it’s quite rare, so I’m very grateful to everyone here (at Royals).”
Buttler is hopeful about the new Royals squad. “It’s a very exciting time for the team you know, to start a new cycle and build a new team,” he said. “The goal here is to win the IPL, and I can’t wait to contribute to that. We are delighted to have so many great players in the roster.
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“Obviously (R.) Ashwin and (Yuzvendra) Chahal are two of the best spinners in the world, and with a great speed attack I think it’s really exciting. Then we have a strong batting lineup along with great all round options, so I think it’s going to be a really exciting IPL for us.”
Jos Buttler (left) with Lasith Malinga (c) and Sanju Samson. – RAJASTHAN ROYALS
He said he was particularly looking forward to interacting with Chahal. “I’ve played against him a few times and he seems to be the fun character in the team. So I’m looking forward to having him on my team. There’s also (Devdutt) Padikkal, who scored a hundred against us last year I think he looks like a fantastic young player, so I’m delighted to have him here.”
Looking back at the Ashes, he said it was a disappointing campaign for his team. “I think I’ve played a lot of cricket in recent years and spent a lot of time in bubbles,” he said. “It was a disappointing campaign in the Ashes that ended with a broken finger for me. Post that, I haven’t touched any cricket at all – I have a young family so I had time to relax and enjoy with them.”
He said it was important to do something other than cricket. “It gives that extra motivation and excitement when you haven’t played in a while,” he said. “Of course I enjoy my fitness, but I think it was important to put my cricket kit away for a while. As I head into an important year, both in the IPL and the T20 World Cup, I feel really fresh and confident.”