Jos Buttler has credited Kevin Pietersen for paving the way for England’s increased association in the IPL, calling him a “pioneer” who laid the steps to help top English players participate in the league.
Featuring on the BBC Podcast The Doosra alongside his Rajasthan Royals teammate Robin Uthappa, Buttler termed the tournament the best in the world, hailing the unique match-ups that the league offers, owing to the mix of international stars playing on a common stage.
“There’s no doubt that it [the IPL] has helped English cricket and the numbers of players who have been involved in IPL in the last few years,” Buttler said. “IPL was always something I was desperate to play. For me it’s the best tournament in the world, I know the World Cup’s different, take that out because you’re playing for your country.
Buttler, who started his IPL stint with Mumbai Indians, before moving to the Royals, has already garnered 1,386 runs in four seasons at a strike-rate of 150.81.
“In the IPL, some of the match-ups you get to see in games – [Royal Challengers] Bangalore’s top three, for a few years, had [Chris] Gayle, [AB] de Villiers, and [Virat] Kohli coming up against a (Jasprit) Bumrah or a Dale Steyn or (Lasith) Malinga.”
“As a kid growing up that is what you want to play, you want to play fantasy cricket. You want to mix all the teams together and wonder what it will be like if Kohli and de Villiers are batting at the same time in the same team”
Kevin Pietersen, one of England’s first batch of participants in the tournament, began his IPL career in the second season back in 2009. Pietersen’s insistence at playing the IPL was a topic of strong debate between him and the ECB, but the board has since relented, giving top players the green light to participate.
“English cricket has got quite an interesting history with it,” Buttler said. “Obviously, the documentary about Kevin Pietersen over the last year or so and how he wanted to get involved and the roadblocks he faced…”
“He did really pave the way for a lot of us to go and now play in the IPL, with more blessing then there used to be from English cricket. He is a pioneer for us, in the way he played and in building the steps in place to trust and realise just how important the IPL is for developing cricketers,” Buttler added.