England’s Jos Buttler has hinted at potentially not featuring in the second half of IPL 2021, scheduled to take place in UAE, and has claimed that international duty will take precedence if there is to be a choice. Incidentally, Buttler struck his first ever T20 ton in the last IPL game he played.
The BCCI, last month, announced that the second half of IPL 2021 will be held in UAE in September, but the availability of Tier 1 overseas stars remains a big question mark. Pat Cummins, for instance, is already informally said to have informed of his unavailability, while his Australian teammates are also expected to skip the season owing to it clashing with national duty.
Jos Buttler could fall in the same category as the wicket-keeper batsman has asserted that there are no guarantees that he’ll feature in the second half of IPL 2021. Like Australia, England too could potentially be playing T20Is in preparation for the WT20, and Buttler said that, should that be the case, he would likely give precedence to international cricket.
"Usually the pocket of the IPL doesn't clash with any international games, which makes it a very easy tournament to be available for. When it clashes with international cricket, England will take precedence I'd have thought,” Cricbuzz quoted Buttler as saying.
Incidentally, three months ago, Buttler had missed three of the four Test matches against India so that he could feature in the IPL. It was not a voluntary decision, as it was the ECB who had decided beforehand that Buttler would sit out the Tests in order to be recharged in time for the white-ball games and the IPL, and the board came under fire for not prioritizing long-form cricket. Recently, the ECB also rested key players for the two-Test series versus New Zealand and that resulted in the Three Lions losing their first ever home series in seven years.
Several former cricketers have been critical of the ECB’s rest and rotate policy, but Buttler defended the same. The wicket-keeper batsman admitted that it was not perfect, but insisted that resting was important for players in order to not get physically and mentally burnt out.
"I think in terms of how much cricket we play, we play a hell of a lot and we understand it's a short career and you want to be available and play as much as you can. But at certain times, I don't think is possible - and I think Covid has complicated that even more.
"It's a day and age where we've got to look after people and applaud really that the guys are trying to be forward-thinking. Is it perfect? No, of course it's not, I don't think so, but I'd rather we look after our guys.
"I don't think there's any perfect answers. I think in England we're playing a lot of cricket, more than most. And obviously there's a lot of cricket left this year and there's some big cricket to come up. So, those breaks were put in there - I think it's important for everyone to be looked after really well."
Since the start of last summer, Buttler has averaged over 50 in Test cricket, but, from a personal standpoint, the ‘break’ came for him at an undesirable time as it meant that he had to sit out games whilst he was essentially in the form of his life. The 30-year-old is expected to be back in the starting XI for the five-Test series against India, and he hoped to rediscover the same touch at the earliest.
"It's always disappointing when you miss cricket. I was feeling in good touch and things were going well but I retain that confidence if I get another chance. At the same time, what has been helpful as a player are the open discussions you have with the coaches and captains. Those rest periods are there because it probably allows you to throw yourself into everything when you are involved.
"If it's an endless piece of string then at some point you are going to burn out. Of course it is disappointing to miss games - you want to play everything - but I retain that confidence if I get another chance that I will be in a good place."