Home Sport Cricket Buttler is the closest thing to AB, says Rassie

Buttler is the closest thing to AB, says Rassie

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Before ‘Bazball’ the Proteas need to deal with Jos Buttler, who Rassie van der Dussen describes as the nearest thing to AB de Villiers that he’s seen.

Jos Buttler will be a player to watch for the Proteas during their series against England. Picture: EPA, David Gray

Johannesburg – Before ‘Bazball’ the Proteas need to deal with Jos Buttler, who Rassie van der Dussen describes as the nearest thing to AB de Villiers that he’s seen.

Buttler was recently appointed captain of England’s limited overs sides, following the retirement of Eoin Morgan, who led the English to the 50-over World Cup title in 2019. The Proteas will face England in three ODIs and three T20 matches before taking on ‘Bazball’ in the three match Test series in August.

With the Test side having provided plenty of thrills in recent weeks, it’s no surprise that Buttler wants England’s limited overs units to tap into that spirit as they prepare to tackle the Proteas.

In Buttler England has a captain, who is a naturally attacking batter, who is also in pretty good form as his recent exploits in the Indian Premier League and a One-Day series against the Netherlands suggest.

“He’s in the form of his life, by his own account as well,” said Van der Dussen, who shared a change-room with Buttler at the Rajasthan Royals during the IPL.

The 31-year-old topped the batting charts by some distance in that tournament, scoring 863 runs with a strike rate of 149.05 – over 200 runs clear of the next highest run-scorer, KL Rahul.

He’s continued with that form when England kicked off the the white ball portion of the season in Amsterdam scoring 162 not out off 70 balls in the first ODI against the Dutch, when England wracked up 498, and then a more sedate 86* off 64 balls in the last match.

“He had a platform at Rajasthan to play freely and take the game away (from the opposition), which as an opener is what you want and he obviously has the skill and form to do that,” said Van der Dussen.

“In this England side, he’s more of an impact player than a banker, he has that role to take the game forward. He’s probably the closest to AB that I have seen in terms of an all-round game, where he hits (the ball) and what he can do.”

Whether he plays with the same kind of freedom now that he is captain, is an element the Proteas will be keen to examine. “Him being captain, it’s difficult to see how it would affect him. Maybe captaincy and that responsibility might weigh him down –we’ll see.

“Sometimes it is easier to play a certain way when you have clear instructions … when there is more responsibility there is a bit more pressure,” said Van der Dussen.

The Proteas ODI squad departs for England on Friday. They will face an England Lions side in two warm-up matches next week, and then tackle Buttler’s team in the first ODI on July 19.

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