There was a sense of urgency to everything that Jos Buttler did during the IPL. It would soon become a gaping void when he left his Rajasthan Royals right before the playoffs.
For some, the national duties cannot be left in the cold.
And that same urgency of contributing with the bat translated to what have been two fiery knocks thus far against Australia. In many ways, the unbeaten 80 against Pakistan in a memorable English win paid a fitting complement to a ballsy 91, another unbeaten knock, another contributing to an English win.
Are we seeing a new and improved Jos Buttler who was but a shadow of his formerly lowly self in 2016?
In the current ‘light’ of his purposeful batting, checkered by studiously collected 1s and 2s and peppered by big hits, suffice to say just like the speed of light remains consistent everywhere, Jos Buttler has a similar quality.
Should this rich vein of form- as seen in his tearing apart of Australia and Pakistan continue- it’s bound to get Buttler far richer rewards.
It augurs well for the batsman making a mark right before the keenly-awaited ICC World Cup 2019. But it wasn’t that Buttler didn’t score freely as a young man.
He started playing from the U13s of Somerset moved on to the U15s, U17s levels playing exceptionally well throughout the age ranks in all formats. He then started representing the Somerset senior side and again showed his consistency in the shorter formats cementing his place in the side, and scored 440 runs at an average of 55 in the VB40 series. After his performances in the domestic circuit he was roped into the England T20 side and made his debut in 2011, and in 2012 he got his ODI debut. After that Buttler has had a few ups and downs but has managed to stay in the limited overs side. Buttler was given a few chances in the test side and he had good starts but was never able to convert his 8 fifties into hundreds. After that, he has been in and out of the test side, as more faces came for his spot.
The IPL comeback
In 2017, Buttler had no made major contributions or performances and was a bit inconsistent. Fans even started to criticize him and wanted him replaced, then came the 2018 IPL auctions where he was bought by Rajasthan Royals and he played as the role opening wicket keeping batsmen. The decision of playing him at the top of the order paid off as he hit 548 runs in 13 games at an average of 55 which included 4-5 consecutive fifties, people saw the real hard-hitting Buttler after a long wait and he just kept on going. Buttler finished the tournament as his sides highest run-getter and took his side to the playoffs almost single-handedly.
The Test call
Though Buttler has not created much impact in the test side as he has in the limited overs format, he has a decent record in first-class cricket and has shown his abilities that are needed in a test batsman even without his wicketkeeping skills. He has been given many chances throughout his career and has played quite well but due to better performances from some other players has been the main reason for his exclusion from the test squad. Buttler finally got his test call again as he displayed his good form in the IPL, and this time he didn’t miss out on the opportunity he was eagerly waiting for. He scored 2 fifties in 3 innings a carried forward his IPL form, though his side lost the first match he along with Dominic Bess put on a good fight but fell only with a slim lead in hand. In the second match, he top scored with an unbeaten 80 taking his side to almost 400 runs which were enough to win the match.
You don’t rever Buttler for his forward defence. Nor do you truncate your meetings or forgo business appointments to just see the right-hander leave the ball outside off.
Buttler’s expected to not make foreplay with the cricket ball; he’s expected to Roger the good and bad deliveries.
Cricket seems winning when batsmen expected to hit, make their hits.
With a few months remaining for ICC’s magnum opus- the 50 over Cricket World- it may make sense if the smiling dasher of the cricket ball perceived himself as being more than English cricket’s first international T20 superstar.