IPL Exclusive: Why Jos Buttler is trying to learn new shots from youngsters like Riyan Parag
Buttler also hailed Ben Stokes as the greatest cricketer in the world
When Jos Buttler replies to your questions with a voice as smooth as silk, you begin to wonder if it’s the same man who terrorises the bowlers with the brutality of his shots.
Barring two half-centuries, Buttler hasn’t really set the stage on fire at the ongoing Indian Premier League in the UAE.
But the Rajasthan Royals player is happy that his team still is still in race for a playoff berth after back-to-back wins over Mumbai Indians and the Kings XI Punjab.
During an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times, the England World Cup hero doffed his hat to Ben Stokes and also revealed how he was trying to learn new shots from the rising Indian star Riyan Parag in the Rajasthan Royals net sessions.
Back-to-back wins. What’s the mood like in the Royals camp as you still have a chance to reach the playoffs?
I think the mood’s really good. There is lots of confidence from two really good performances. There is nothing to lose kind of attitude in the team. We obviously had a little bit of a poor run in the middle of the tournament where we didn’t play our best cricket, but in the last few games, we have played with no fear and gone out there and played brilliantly. We are still in with a chance of potentially getting through to the playoffs. So there is lots of confidence and excitement.
Ben Stokes has now rediscovered his form to put Royals in the race for the playoffs. What’s about him that helps him produce these magical moments with such regularity?
I think for Ben, obviously, it was always going to be a bit of challenge. He has stopped playing cricket in the English summer during the Pakistan Test (series), he hadn’t played for a long time. Coming sort of cold into the tournament was always going to be a bit of challenge, but yeah he seems to be back in top form now. So it’s very exciting. He has been over the last few years arguably the best cricketer in the world. We always put a lot of expectations on him and he always rises to the challenge. He has been playing fantastically well for period of time, so it was only a matter of time until he showed his best form again.
Of course, Ben Stokes is not the only superstar in England white-ball set up. You have been immense as well for the England team. In fact, people like Joe Root, Michael Vaughan and Stuart Broad have called you England’s greatest white-ball player ever…
Yes, it’s obviously a really nice compliment. I think sometimes it’s a bit uncomfortable as well to hear people talk about you like that. You hope that’s more of a something people might say when you finish (your career). And also I think in England and our white-ball team, we have been playing well for a number of years. There have been quite a few guys who you could say the same thing about as well, so obviously it’s very humbling, really nice comments. But I don’t try to think about it too much. I am just trying to get on with my cricket and being the best I can be.
It must have been really nice to train and share your experience with the talented Indian youngsters in the Rajasthan team…
Yes, it’s been great, you know, the training sessions are fantastic fun. That’s where you get to watch guys. And one of my favourite things is just to watch how the guys go about their things and what new skills some of these youngsters have. You know watching somebody like Riyan (Parag) in the nets, he is a young guy and yet he’s so powerful, plays different shots and I watch how he does it and what I can take into my game, you know, things the new, younger generation are bringing into the game. It’s always been a great learning curve, just the perfect time to speak and talk and there is no consequences in the nets. You always try new things and help each other. It’s always a nice environment in the net sessions.
You are a World Cup hero, having played a decisive role with Stokes in arguably the greatest World Cup final in history. Has that epic World Cup win last year brought about a change in the landscape for cricket in the football-mad England?
Certainly on the back of the World Cup, the interest in cricket was at an all-time high. And with the Ashes series immediately after that (World Cup) in England, so many kids and people were signed up to play cricket and excited to get their summer going after the World Cup. Now obviously with the coronavirus, people don’t have that chance. But hopefully that hunger and love for the game is still there when we all get a chance to play again in the next summer in England.
A year after the World Cup win, you became an even bigger hero when you raised 65,000 pounds for frontline workers by auctioning the England shirt you wore in that final against New Zealand. But it seems the war on Covid is far from over. What will be your message to the people?
I think as much as we can, we must stick together. People have been going through challenging times. What we must do is stick together and help each other. I think that’s my message and just keep the faith. I know people are going through a really tough time at the moment, but we all are very resilient people. And our history have shown that. I hope at some point we are able to overcome the virus.
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