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Jos Buttler underlines IPL’s positive influence on England cricket

The IPL’s positive influence on English cricket is evident in the transformation wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Butller has gone through in the wake of his stint in the cash-rich league this season.

cricket Updated: Jun 29, 2018 12:03 IST
Ankit Kumar Singh
Ankit Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Jos Buttler,IPL,England cricket team
England's Jos Buttler blasted 275 runs at a staggering average of 137.50 and a breathtaking strike rate of 112.70 during the recent five-match ODI series vs. Australia. (AFP)

Back in 2008 when the Indian Premier League (IPL) was held for the first time, England had only one representation in the form of all-rounder Dimitri Mascarenhas, who played a solitary game for Rajasthan Royals before heading home.

Cut to 2018 and the 11th season of the IPL featured participation of as many as 12 England players. Only Australia, with a total of 13 players, had more number of overseas berths in the cash-rich league.

For years, English cricket bosses were skeptical of their players participating in the IPL thinking doing so would take a toll on their Test forms. However, post the 2015 ODI World Cup debacle when England were knocked out by Bangladesh in the group stage, the newly-appointed director of England cricket, Andrew Strauss, finally realised the need to let players have the IPL experience as part of their growth in limited-overs cricket.

Since then, English players have been regular in the IPL with the league experience certainly playing a role in Three Lions’ limited-overs metamorphosis.

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Nothing underlines the IPL’s positive influence on English cricket better than the transformation wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Butller has gone through in the wake of his stint in the cash-rich league this season.

Playing for Rajasthan Royals, Buttler amassed 548 runs from 13 matches with an impressive average of 54.80 and an equally impressive strike rate of 155.24. He slammed five fifties during the tournament and was sixth on the list of highest run-getters.

His imperious form in the IPL helped him return to the England Test side for a two-Test series against Pakistan after a gap of 18 months. The 27-year-old made an impact straightaway scoring a superb 67 in the first Test at Lord’s before conjuring up a match-winning knock of 80 in the second Test at Headingley.

He later himself admitted how his stint with Royals helped him become a better player. “Those couple of weeks in the IPL gave me huge amounts of confidence. To be in those pressure situations in India, playing in front of crowds, the pressure of being an overseas player. That showed me a lot about where I was at and where I can get to, so that gave me a lot of confidence,” he was quoted as saying by the ICC website.

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In the recently-concluded five-match ODI series against arch-rivals Australia, Buttler’s game went even a notch higher as he blasted 275 runs at a staggering average of 137.50 and a breathtaking strike rate of 112.70. His knock of 110 in the fifth match was unforgettable as he single handedly took England to a nail-biting, one-wicket win after they had been reduced to 114/8 while chasing 206.

Prior to Buttler, Ben Stokes was another English cricketer who tasted tremendous success in the 10th edition of the IPL last year and later performed admirably in the ICC Champions Trophy back home.

Stokes, who was bought for a record Rs 14.5 crores by Rising Pune Supergiant, scored 316 runs and claimed 12 wickets to walk away with tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in 2017.

Later he shone with both bat and ball against South Africa in an ODI series at home, which prompted Strauss to acknowledge how the English all-rounder’s game improved after playing in the IPL.

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“We’ve seen that already with the maturity that Ben is playing with the bat. And it looked like he’s improved his bowling at the death tremendously too,” Strauss had told reporters back then.

Stokes continued his fine form during the Champions Trophy too where he played an important role in helping England reach the final.

This year, apart from Stokes and Buttler, who played together for Rajasthan Royals, Royals Challengers Bangalore had Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali while Alex Hales and Chris Jordan turned up for Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Mark Wood, David Willey and Sam Billings were part of Chennai Super Kings whereas Tom Curran played a few games for Kolkata Knight Riders. Jason Roy and Liam Plunkett made their presence felt for Delhi Daredevils.

With most of these players in the mix of the team’s plans for next year’s 50-Over World Cup at home, England would hope that they make similar strides as Buttler had in the recent times in the wake of their IPL exposure.

First Published: Jun 29, 2018 11:35 IST