Broadcaster paying commentator to express opinion must be accepted: Buttler

Mumbai: Rajasthan Royals and England wicketkeeper-batter Jos Buttler says if a commentator criticises a player, he is only doing his job, and that acceptance should be an integral part of any cricketer’s career.

“Acceptance is a big part of the job. Accepting that broadcaster pays someone to give their opinion; they are just doing their job. It is not a personal attack on me when they criticise me,” Buttler told Humans of Bombay in an interview.

“And I watch other sports. I watch football and go ‘oh how did he miss that?! It was so easy’. That is exactly what people are doing when I drop a catch or go for a low score. I do exactly the same thing without realising when I watch other sports. Just acceptance,” he said.

The England white-ball skipper says he always wanted to be an all-format cricketer, and not being able to perform in Test cricket is something that still bothers him.

“My strengths have always been being better ODI and T20 player. I was desperate to become an all-format player and a very successful Test cricketer. I played a lot of Test cricket in the end but never quite performed to a level quite consistently that I felt I could have achieved, and that will always be a frustration. I always want to be one of the best players in the world,” he said.

Buttler, who captained England to their second ICC T20 World Cup win last year, named South African Jonty Rhodes and Australian legends Adam Gilchrist and Steve Waugh as being his inspiration in his early days.

“Jonty Rhodes was an early inspiration for me. I did not always keep wickets, I used to love fielding. The 1999 World Cup was in England, so I have very clear memories of going and watching some of those games. Adam Gilchrist was another, a wicketkeeper-batsman, he changed the mode of keeper-batsman. I was really excited to watch (him). Steve Waugh, because Australia were so dominant that time when he was the captain,” said the 32-year-old Buttler.

Buttler said joining Somerset at a young age paved the way for him to take up cricket as a career, but the England dream materialised much later.

“From an early age, I would go and watch Somerset quite often, my local county. I knew quite early this (cricket) could be my career. Knowing that playing cricket for your career sounded like a good gig to me. Once I got into Somerset academy at 13-14, that was a clear path to becoming a professional cricketer. I never really wavered from that one,” adding that farming was another interest along with playing football.

“Getting selected for the Somerset academy at around 13-14, it became a little more serious to me. My parents sent me to a private school at Taunton known for its cricket, which is close to the Somerset cricket ground so that I could get the extra opportunity of being at the school and close to the county ground.

“For me, it was always about playing for Somerset, England came later when I got selected for under-17 and under-19,” Buttler revealed.

Buttler said watching the support that Indian cricketers get even while playing away series was an eye-opener.

“It is like nothing else, the way Indian players are adored and supported, the level of fame is incredible. Only thing that (I) can link it to is football in England. It is fascinating watching how they deal with it, the media scrutiny. It is a privilege as well. Learned from the IPL how best players deal with, in a good way, with the chaos around.

“Just watching (MS) Dhoni come out to bat that night (against RR in IPL 2023). The crowd is so expectant. The demeanour he carries is quite incredible for that sort of situation and external pressures.

“The travelling support that India gets wherever they go… Craig Kieswetter drove me to the Manchester ground (his debut) and watched throngs of Indian fans waiting for the team bus to arrive. It was an eye-opening, surreal experience,” he said.

Buttler said the focus on the upcoming 50-over World Cup in India will be high only after the IPL.

Understanding how it feels to win a world Cup four years ago gives you the drive to do it again. India is one of the best places to play cricket. So, it is going to be huge. Once the IPL finishes, the attention will start to switch towards that. England has a strong talent pool. Our cricket has gone from strength to strength from 2015 onwards. We’re a good team, a balanced side,” he said.