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T20 World Cup 2022 – Jos Buttler

The stage is set for Jos Buttler. He turned 32 last month and is at his peak as a T20 batter en route to the World Cup in Australia, his first as England captain. He is mentally fresh after a calf injury and if he finds his best form, he has the opportunity to win the trophy almost single-handedly.

He spent the recent tour from England to Pakistan throwing balls and carrying drinks but is expected to return to the Perth side on Sunday, the first of four warm-up games – three against Australia and another against Pakistan – for the main event. Even for a team with England’s best hitting power, his return will be transformative.

“I’ve been confident in my game for a while,” Buttler told ESPNcricinfo. “I feel like I have good experience and a good understanding of the T20 game.” Earlier this year he produced one of the best IPL seasons ever, scoring 863 runs, including a record four centuries, and his career record now compares favorably with the all-time greats of the format.

When Buttler broke through in Somerset over a decade ago, it was his innovation that set him apart. He played the most daring shots English cricket had seen since Kevin Pietersen, reverse-slapping spinners and paddle-scooping sailors to create holes and give the opposing captains the feeling of being out-of-field.

But since he started hitting regularly in 2018, he has become more orthodox, especially against the new ball. In the World Cup, Buttler is much more likely to find an opening in the off-side ring with a back punch or cover drive than to shuffle outside his stump and run over his short fine leg.

“It’s changed because of where I hit,” he says. “When you open the shot, you don’t have to take such a big risk to get the same reward. Obviously in the power play there are only two fielders outside the 30-yard circle, so the bowlers’ hands are in that sentence is right.and if you beat the infield, there is no one on the border to stop it.

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“You don’t have to take such big risks in the power play to be able to score at a certain pace. It’s really good for my game that I’ve spent a long time in the mid-range and now have a decent stretch near the top of the table. order also: I feel I can try to combine the two parts of the game and try for a long time in a T20 game.

Buttler has had remarkable, continued success at the top of the order. Chris Gayle is widely accepted as the GOAT of T20, but Buttler holds the superior record as an opener: he is more consistent (averaging 43.04 against Gayle’s 37.94) and more destructive (notable at 149.34 against Gayle’s 146.67).

In the IPL, he came close to achieving batting perfection when he took Rajasthan Royals to their first final since 2008. “I had some really good conversations with Kumar Sangakkara [Royals’ director of cricket] about waiting for the moment you feel, and understanding that after that you can still catch up if you need to,” Buttler recalls.

“That period can fall within five balls, but sometimes it takes 15 or 20 balls. We talked about not having to worry about that, knowing that I can catch up later if I have to, and that I otherwise can play I feel more comfortable with the fold.

“I think a lot of it is about swallowing your ego as a batter: not feeling like you have to prove something out there, but just playing what’s in front of you and what it takes that day; not looking back and thinking ‘I I had runs yesterday, I have to do exactly the same today.’ It’s very much playing the game for you.”

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Buttler’s approach in India had two distinct features. The first was the propensity to give himself three overs to get ‘in’ before accelerating during the second half of the power play, a method dictated by the circumstances and the Royals’ lack of strike depth, with Trent Boult often hitting number 8 was carded.

“In the beginning of the tournament it felt like the ball was swinging a lot more, so it felt like it was hard to hit in the first few overs,” he says. “Tactically it was about getting through that period, not taking too many risks when the ball was moving and then playing in the back of the power play when there was less movement. Managing risk is a big part of hitting.”

The other was his relentless targeting of bowlers, especially when he spotted an inexperienced player he thought he could take out. In his 17 innings, there were 12 occasions when Buttler scored 15 runs or more on a single and four when he scored 20 or more.

“It’s definitely something I’ve thought more about: those big overs and relying on my ability to hit six; looking at the West Indian players and, in general, how they hit more sixes than other teams. I got that.” seen as a huge positive and a way to pressure myself: to know that I have the ability to hit sixes.

“That probably means I don’t take that much risk at certain stages because I feel like I could hit two sixes in a row at any point in an innings and I’m looking at what that would mean for my score and hitting speed. That’s is It’s been a way my percussion has evolved: I’ve definitely looked more at my six-hitting abilities than in the past, or I’m waiting for a ball to be in my area.”

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Buttler has also changed his method when hunting, viewing a target in terms of how many boundaries to reach rather than worrying about the required speed. “I heard some guys talk about it like ‘there are eight overs, if we get five sixes in that time, we win the game’. It’s just a different way of thinking.

“It actually came from Darren Bravo in the Bangladesh Premier League. He was on my team and I remember him running out and saying that to Marlon Samuels. I never thought like that before. I always thought about how many runs we got per about. I just found that it’s a way to take the pressure off.”

The next step in the evolution of T20 batting, Buttler suggests, could be that batters turn down singles to stay on strike when they think a matchup is in their favor. “It’s something you see quite often at the end of an inning – [MS] Dhoni used to do that, but maybe you see that in the beginning of the innings.”

“I’m sure that will happen more and more often: if someone does it successfully, it gives other people confidence,” he adds. “The question is who wants to be the first mover.” Don’t bet it’s Buttler himself.

Jos Buttler spoke on behalf of, whose new research shows that more than half of cricket fans would travel more than 3,000 miles to see their team.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98



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