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Indian Premier League 2020

Rajasthan Royals inadvertently spark Jos Buttler captaincy rumours through Twitter meme

RR captain
by Manoj Narayan and Ben Gardner 2 minute read

On a day when Eoin Morgan took charge of IPL 2020 side Kolkata Knight Riders, rumours abounded that Jos Buttler would also be made captain of Rajasthan Royals (RR), following a post on Twitter by the franchise’s official account that said they were, “Thankful for a boss like Jos”.

Steve Smith is the current captain of the RR side, and it emerged after a time that they were being humourous with that tweet, in which they photoshopped Buttler’s face onto the image of a suited man at an office, holding a mug that said ‘World’s best boss’. With it being National Boss Day, the idea was to celebrate bosses, with the hashtag #BossDay and the post was apparently merely a play on ‘Jos’ rhyming with ‘Boss’.

However, given Smith’s recent form, things escalated rather quickly. The Australian has made five single-digit scores in his last six matches at IPL 2020, and given that RR have in that time won only one of those matches, pressure has built on Smith to turn his form around quickly.

Some had already suggested that Buttler, regarded by many as the obvious successor to Morgan as England captain, and having deputised for the Irishman at international level on 10 occasions, should take over the role. With Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer also first-choice overseas players for RR, Smith is arguably the least integral overseas player to their cause, and if he were not skipper, they would have more flexibility to rotate him with some of their other international options.

Some of the more quick on the draw accounts chose to stoke the rumours, with their tongues in their cheeks, though not obviously so to all, and it wasn’t long before Buttler’s ascension to the captaincy was, in some eyes, inevitable.

Even the prominent commentator Harsha Bhogle thought there was something in all the rumours. “What a day this is turning out to be at the #Dream11IPL,” he tweeted. “First #KKRiders announce that @Eoin16 will be captain, and then @rajasthanroyals indicate that @josbuttler will lead the side. Gives you an idea of how high pressure the league is.”

It escalated to such a stage that RR came under increasing pressure to confirm or deny the reports.

Their COO, Jake Lush McCrum, soon denied the rumours, and the official account seemed cowed by the furore they had caused, tweeting a post in praise of Smith not long after.

It meant quite a few people had to delete their previous tweets and issue clarifications, chief among them being Bhogle.

All of which made for a routine day at the IPL! The question which remained was whether the Rajasthan Royals Twitter admin was truly oblivious to what many took as the intended meaning of their original post. As one of the more savvy official team accounts, the kind that realises any engagement, within reason, is good engagement, could it be that gently fanning the flames of controversy wasn’t entirely accidental? Perhaps we’ll never know for sure.

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