Paarl Royals’ Jos Buttler doesn’t want too much Phil Salt to spoil SA20 opener

Jos Buttler of Paarl Royals hits a big shot. Picture: Ron Gaunt / Sportzpics / SA20

Jos Buttler of Paarl Royals hits a big shot. Picture: Ron Gaunt / Sportzpics / SA20

Published Jan 12, 2024


It was just a couple of weeks ago that Jos Buttler had the best seat in the house when Phil Salt was on a record-breaking run spree in the Caribbean.

Salt blasted two consecutive T20 centuries to help England come back from 2-0 behind to level the series against the West Indies.

Buttler, his opening partner, got to enjoy the fireworks from the non-striker’s end as the pair put together partnerships of 115 and 117.

This evening at Boland Park (5.30pm start), Buttler will again be looking on. Only this time he will be hoping that it won’t be for too long as he’ll be behind the stumps for Paarl Royals, with Salt opening the batting for the Pretoria Capitals in the SA20.

Does Buttler have any inside secrets in an attempt to keep Salt quiet at Boland Park? “He (Salt) is a positive player and obviously has been in some great form for England in the Caribbean,” Buttler said yesterday.

“You have to find a way to contain these guys and take their wickets … before they cause too much damage.”

But it is not only Salt that the Rocks will need to keep in check.

Another young Englishman, Harry Brook, took the maiden tournament by storm last season before he needed to leave halfway through it. It will therefore be crucial for the Rocks to make early inroads.

That will most likely be the responsibility of left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin and seamer Lungi Ngidi.

Buttler is conscious of getting off to a positive start in the competition, especially with the match being played at the Royals’ home ground.

“Everyone wants to get that first win under their belt because it sets you up nicely. T20 is one of those games where you can ride the momentum,” he said. “We want to make our home ground a fortress.”

The Royals have undergone a coaching change during the off-season, with New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond taking over from JP Duminy, who has moved to the Proteas national team as the batting coach.

At most teams that Buttler plays for, he forms an integral part of the leadership group. However, after a few stressful months with England where the 50-over 2019 World Cup champions endured a dismal time in India and subsequently lost both white-ball series in the Caribbean, Buttler simply wants to have a good time over the next month in South Africa.

“My main aim is to come out here and enjoy myself. We had a tough World Cup with England, which was a bit draining and really not that enjoyable, so I just want to enjoy my cricket and everything the country has to offer,” he said.

“We’ve had some good preparation, with a couple of games against the Netherlands, … and we are looking forward to an exciting tournament.”