Paarl Royals’ Jos Buttler chasing bragging rights against English mates

The Paarl Royals’ Jos Buttler hit a six.

The Paarl Royals’ Jos Buttler is striking the ball well in this year’s SA20 League. Picture: Ron Gaunt/Sportzpics/SA20/BackpagePix

Published Jan 19, 2024


Jos Buttler cut a despondent figure for close on two months as he trudged through India during England’s failed World Cup defence last year.

The strain was certainly evident on the face of England’s white-ball captain as his personal performances suffered in the process.

There seemed to be some light at the end of the tunnel on England’s tour to the Caribbean, though, where Buttler seemed to slowly rediscover his touch.

The right-handed batter, therefore, arrived in South Africa for the second edition of the SA20 to not only find some runs but, more importantly, to rediscover his love for the game.

It helped that he was coming to a country where the sun is shining, there are some amazing golf courses and some of the best vineyards in the world, far away from the gloom of winter back home in Lancashire.

The infectious Buttler smile was certainly back on Wednesday night at Boland Park, after he struck eight fours and three sixes during an undefeated 70 to guide the Paarl Royals to their third consecutive victory.

“It’s nice to hit sixes, play with some freedom ... I am really trying to enjoy my cricket, get stuck in with the boys,” Buttler said, after the seven-wicket victory over the Joburg Super Kings.

“It’s been a great start to the competition. The win breeds confidence among the boys. We are certainly in a good position at the moment. There is a really strong spirit in the group, and we are enjoying it both on and off the field.”

The next assignment for Buttler and the Royals is a trip down the N1 highway to face neighbours MI Cape Town at Newlands on Friday night (5.30pm start), with the return game at Boland Park on Sunday (3.30pm).

A derby always brings an extra edge to any game, but there will be even more at stake as Buttler – along with his opening partner Jason Roy – will come up against England teammates Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone and Olly Stone in the MI Cape Town line-up.

“It is always fun to play against your teammates and get some bragging rights,” Buttler said.

“I am sure they are going to be great games. The tournament so far has been really fun and well-supported, and it’s great to see so many people in the grounds and enjoying their cricket.

“I am sure the games over the weekend against MI Cape Town will be exactly that, and I’m sure it’s going to be a great night out there.”

The Royals’ positive start to the season has been built around their impressive performances with the ball, led by senior statesmen Lungi Ngidi and Obed McCoy.

The only concern at the moment is the form of Buttler’s long-time opening partner Roy. The 2019 World Cup winner has yet to get out of the blocks, but Buttler believes it could only be a matter of time before he sparks into life.

“He looked fantastic tonight. Every time he plays those strong forward defensive shots that hit the middle of the bat it’s a really good sign for him,” Buttler said.

“He is looking really good, and I am sure the runs will flow for him very soon.”