Wisdom of experience the foundation stone of Jos Buttler’s game-breaking hundred

Buttler’s match-winning 100 takes the Royal’s to victory. Source (X)

From a young age, Jos Buttler seemed to be different from his colleagues at Somerset. The essence of Buttler’s batting was his tenacity, to be able to absorb the pressure and bat deep into an innings. When Buttler was just about 20 years old, he had showcased some of his traits. In 2011, he played in a 40-over final against Surrey at Lord’s. 

Batting first, Somerset lost three wickets within no time. It soon became 5 for 79, 6 for 124 and 7 for 146. Buttler, however, continued to pinch singles and twos and expertly threaded the gaps with cuts and lofts. Ultimately, he was the last man to fall for an awe-inspiring 72-ball 86. More than a decade later, Buttler’s 60-ball 107 to pilot Rajasthan Royals to a memorable victory over Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens further substantiated his calm temperament and ability to navigate through tricky phases. 

Let’s dissect how Buttler rowed through the fine lines between losing the plot to becoming a game-changer. For a while, Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy had kept Buttler quiet in the middle overs. So much so that he was on 42 off 33 deliveries after the completion of the 14th over. 

Although Chakravarthy was hitting higher up on the bat, someone had to take the punt as the required run-rate was going through the roof. The onus was on Buttler to take the responsibility and he responded brilliantly. It is true when you premeditate your shots, you need a bit of rub of the green going your way. And Buttler had that element of luck as a couple of thick edges off Chakravarthy went rocketing behind square on the off-side.

With Shreyas Iyer also having to bring back his pace bowlers, Buttler soon turbocharged the engine and added 49 off his next 21 deliveries. Here, Rovman Powell also deserves praise as his 13-ball, 26-run cameo in the slog overs took some of the pressure off Buttler. “The worst thing you can do is to not fight and give your wicket away,” Buttler noted after the game. “Sangakkara (The team director) just tells me to stay there and at some point, the momentum will change. That’s been a big part of my play over the last few years.”

Buttler’s hundred also said something about his resilience. The England skipper has been grappling with a niggle and played only as an impact sub in the KKR-RR game. Moreover, by the fag end of that match, Buttler had to grit his way through the energy-sapping heat. When RR needed only three runs, a hobbling Buttler somehow managed to sneak in the second run. It was a night where Buttler’s mental strength burgeoned brightly, which in turn helped him to ace the chase. 

At 33, Buttler isn’t getting any younger. On occasions, his body movements are a tad slow, and that can be observed in his trigger. He is not the young Buttler who wowed the Somerset cricket cognoscenti with his flash of the willow and gift-wrapped skills. But Buttler has added the wisdom of experience to his quiver, which is helping him to keep pace with the ever-evolving T20 format.