Severely bruised after slumping to a crushing defeat at the hands of West Indies, England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler on Thursday said it is important that more English cricketers play in the Indian Premier League in order to do well in mega-events like World Twenty20.
In reply to England’s competitive 182 for six, West Indies destructive opener Chris Gayle struck five boundaries and 11 sixes in his 48-ball unbeaten ton to chase down the target in 18.1 overs here last night in their World T20 match.
“It’s a shame not more players can get in. IPL is a fantastic tournament. There’s no way you are not going to improve or find out new things. And hopefully in the years to come we will get more players involved in it,” said Buttler on the eve of their Group 1 game against South Africa at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Buttler, who was bought for Rs.3.8 crore by Mumbai Indians at the IPL auction last month, said his team would not mind losing a game in the beginning of the tournament if it can win the rest of its matches.
“You come to these tournaments and they’re hard games. To go to the semi-finals you’ve got to win games. If we lose a game and win five in a row and then win the World Cup, we’d be happy with that. And we’ll be really focused tomorrow,” he said.
25-year-old cricketer said the match against South Africa was going to be an exciting contest.
“It’s going to be a very exciting game. Guys who are inexperienced are loving the thought of playing the World Cup and playing these big games, especially in India where cricket is so high-profile. It’s a great place to come and play. We’ve got characters in that dressing room that enjoy that occasion and will stand up to it, and will look to take the game on tomorrow,” said Buttler.
Buttler said Gayle simply took the game away from England here last night.
“We came up against a great innings from someone who can do that. We weren’t the first side and we certainly won’t be the last either. I think it highlights that you really have to be 100 per cent on your game against someone who’s capable of that sort of innings. With the bat we were probably par at best. But there are plenty of good things we did.
“We know it (game against Windies) is gone now and to advance in this tournament we need to focus all our energy on the next game. We’ve got to focus on that and learn from what happened last night. The conditions, playing in this stadium, take all those things and take that into the game, and really improve on those areas that we have to improve on. Because playing against good teams, you’ve got to be right up there on your game to win these matches,” he explained.
Confident that England’s key bowler — leg spinner Adil Rashid, who was smashed around by Gayle — will bounce back, Buttler said: “Adil’s been a great performer for us, and he’s been a match-winner. But Gayle was going to target him in conditions that probably weren’t in Adil’s favour. It’s a small ground.
“But he’ll dust himself down, come back well and he’s obviously had some good success against South Africa. So he’ll look forward to tomorrow.”
On whether the team had alternative plans when Gayle started going berserk, Buttler said there were always plans.
“You’ve obviously got plans. It’s all about executing them. You can have the best laid plans in the world and if you don’t do it, it’s irrelevant. Against these top players you have to execute your skills.
“You can have as many plans as you like but if you can’t execute a skill to that plan then you’re stuffed anyway. If you need to be able to bowl a yorker in front of thousands of people to one of the world’s best batters then you’ve got to be able to do it or they’re going to hurt you like we saw last night.”
Asked about de Villiers’ strengths in comparison to Gayle’s, Buttler said the two have different approach.
“They are very different. Chris never looks under any pressure, does he? He feels like he can hit sixes at will. De Villiers has much more range of shots, but Gayle has that power and he doesn’t really need to try anything else.
“They’re good players and that’s what you get when you turn up at world tournaments — all the best players in the world in one place.”