~ The World Cup-winning batter is excited to connect with the likes of Chahal and Padikkal, while also playing a guiding role for the youngers ~
Mumbai, 23 March 2022: Having missed the second phase of IPL 2021, England and Rajasthan Royals’ star batter Jos Buttler is back in the country for the upcoming season with a sense of excitement and belief. Speaking ahead of the tournament, he said, “Anytime you turn up in India for the IPL, there’s this sense of excitement and a real buzz around the tournament, so it's great to be back in the country.”
“It has become my second home. I've spent a lot of time here, and the friendliness of the people and the passion for cricket always tends to blow my mind away,” added the 50-over World Cup-winner.
Speaking of him being retained by the Royals, Buttler said he was “quite flattered”. “There were only a certain number of players that could stay with the franchise so it was quite flattering to have been offered to be retained. I’ve always enjoyed playing for this franchise and have had some really enjoyable memories.”
“Obviously I knew the franchise had placed their trust in me, along with Sanju and Yash (Yashasvi Jaiswal). There were a lot of conversations that happened before the auction, and we were just focused on trying to create a strong team, covering all bases that you need to win the tournament.”
“Another aspect was how brilliantly my family and myself have been looked after – it is quite rare, so I’m really thankful to everyone here (at the Royals),” he expressed.
Commenting on the Royals’ squad for 2022, Buttler said, “It's a really exciting time for the team you know, to start a new cycle and build a new team. The aim 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 squad. Obviously, Ashwin and Chahal are two of the best spinners in the world, and with a great pace attack, I think it’s really exciting. Then we’ve got ourselves a strong batting line-up, along with great all-round options, so I think it’s going to be a really exciting IPL for us,” added the 31-year-old.
In his own words, Buttler said he “had a disappointing campaign in the Ashes.” He added, “I think I’ve played a lot of cricket in the last few years, and have spent a lot of time in bubbles. It was a disappointing campaign in the Ashes, which finished with a broken finger for me. Post that, I haven’t touched cricket at all – I’ve got a young family, so I had the time to relax and enjoy with them.”
“I actually found it really important to do something different from cricket. It sort of brings that extra motivation and excitement when you haven’t played for a bit. Of course I enjoy my fitness, but I think it was important to put my cricket kit away for a bit. Now coming into an important year, both in the IPL and then the T20 World Cup, I feel really fresh and full of confidence.”
Asked how he’s planning to utilize time in this year’s IPL without his wife and children accompanying him, the stylish batter said, “Seeing new faces in the team is always exciting, and gives me an opportunity to build new relationships, get to know the guys.”
“I'm also looking forward to connecting with a lot of people, especially Chahal. I’ve played against him a few times, and he seems to be that fun character in the team. So, I’m looking forward to having him on my team.”
He continued, “There’s also Padikkal, who scored a hundred against us last year. I think he looks like a fantastic young player so I’m excited to have him here.”
Having played 65 matches in his six seasons in the IPL, and scored 1968 runs at a strike rate of 150, Buttler has steadily transformed into a senior pro in the team, and is looking forward to that role. “My role as a senior player is to try to give the other guys confidence. It’s to transmit a very free-spirited mindset, and act as a sounding board for young players. It’s important for them to be fearless, and to just embrace the opportunity.”
“I remember when I was a young player, just having that five minutes of conversation with someone would go a long way, and I would love to help the younger guys in the same way,” he added.
Sending a message to all the Rajasthan Royals’ fans, Buttler said, “I am so excited to have the fans back in the stadium. The IPL is not really the IPL without the fans, so I’m looking forward to having all the noise, the passion and the energy that the crowd brings to the game. So, I’m looking forward to seeing them, and I can only say, that we are looking to make you proud by being a championship winning team this season.”