Buttler profits from words of wisdom
England batsman Jos Buttler revealed some encouraging words from county captain Marcus Trescothick offered inspiration ahead of his match-winning efforts against South Africa at Edgbaston.
Stuart Broad’s side ensured the three-match NatWest International T20 series ended all-square on Wednesday night with a 28-run triumph in a contest reduced to 11 overs per side by rain.
Fellow Somerset man Craig Kieswetter secured the man-of-the-series award with a well-constructed half-century, but it was Buttler who stole the headlines with some thrilling strokeplay.
The penultimate over of the England innings, bowled by Wayne Parnell, became the second most costly in international T20 history as Buttler bludgeoned the left-arm seamer for three sixes and two fours on his way to 32 not out from 10 balls.
Heading into the match, Buttler had only reached double figures once in six England innings - a maiden effort of 13 against West Indies last season - and, on the back of two dismissals playing his signature ramp shot against Pakistan over the winter, admitted his confidence took a hit.
But two of the telling blows landed on Parnell came courtesy of the innovative stroke and Buttler credited England team psychologist Mark Bawden and Trescothink for setting his mind at ease.
“I had a bit of a confidence knock by getting out to it in Dubai, but think being myself was a huge thing,” he said.
“I had a good chat with Mark Bawden yesterday about things and had a nice couple of texts off Tres, just saying be yourself and enjoy it and that’s what I did.”
Having been selected for all England’s fixtures in the shortest form this summer, Wednesday’s star turn may have cemented a place in the XI for this month’s World Twenty20 defence in Sri Lanka, but Buttler is keeping his feet on the ground.
“I can only keep performing,” he said. “International cricket hasn’t quite gone as I’d have hoped, but days like that are really pleasing and give me a lot of confidence to take into Sri Lanka.
“Tomorrow is another day and I’ve got to get back to working hard so I keep asking questions of the captain and the coach.
“It was something I was desperate to get in an England shirt, to have that innings. I could take confidence from what I’ve done for Somerset but to do it on the international stage is a really proud moment and gives me a lot of confidence.
“It's nice to repay the faith that people have shown in you. But I need to get back in the right frame of mind a look forward the tournament in Sri Lanka.”
For now, he is happy to discuss a shot honed over hours of practice since his days in the Somerset academy.
Although he acknowledges premeditation, Buttler maintains the stroke is an adaptable one that he will continue to play with regularity.
"Yes, it's massively premeditated," he added. "I'm looking for a ball in an area but I've worked on ways to compensate if it's in other areas to get bat on it and get off strike. The way I play it, I think I can do it to a full ball, a wide ball or a back-of-a-length ball.
"I remember trying it in my first Twenty20 game for Somerset, which was against Sussex. Watching Twenty20 cricket evolve, I think it's a huge part of the game to be able to hit where the fielders aren't. It's been a huge part of my game since my professional career started.
"I've done a lot of work on it with a lot of coaches and work on the (bowling) machine. Like everything, repetition and hard work with something will usually pay off."
It sounds like ominous news for bowlers across the world. Just ask Wayne Parnell.