England’s Jos Buttler has said he is a “big fan” of South African captain Quinton de Kock as the two wicket-keeper batsmen prepare to face off in an upcoming Twenty20 series. England travels to South Africa on Monday, despite administrative chaos within South African cricket that threatened the journey, for a tour that includes three international T20 matches and three one-day internationals. But attention will be focused on the shortest format as there are Twenty20 World Cups in both 2021 and 2022.
And the clash between Buttler and De Kock, both dynamic batsmen and athletic goalkeepers, could go a long way into the decisive series.
“I’m a big fan of his,” Buttler told reporters on Monday before the team left for Cape Town.
“He’s a fantastic player with an excellent cricket brain. I really enjoy how he looks at the game and how he looks at it.
“He is one of my favorite players in the world right now, and is brilliant with the bat and as a wicket-keeper,” added Buttler.
The tour will, as happened with England’s recent international home games, see matches limited to two venues – in this case Cape Town and Paarl – with players from both sides in bio-secured bubbles.
Buttler is one of many English players who have gained more experience in bubble life while playing in this year’s Indian Premier League, where one of his teammates at the Rajasthan Royals was England’s speedy Jofra Archer.
Although the Royals ended at the bottom of the table, fast bowler Archer was named the most valuable player of the tournament after 20 wickets in 14 games.
During the home season, multi-format star Archer spent 87 days – more time than any other English player – in lockdown.
Archer, however, is reassured from the one-day portion of the South Africa tour.
“He was fantastic at bowling and knocked them out of the park,” said Archer’s Buttler.
“He’s someone who has spent most days in a lockdown situation in the last six months, so it’s tough for any young man at times.
“So I think this little break from the South Africa tour would have been great for him. I know a family has come out to join him in the IPL, which was also a big plus.”
Meanwhile, Buttler hopes that the strategy with which England recovered from an early exit at the 2015 World Cup to champions four years later will also help them in their quest for next year’s T20 edition.
“Winning the series is the ultimate goal, but we’re building a World Cup and one of the things we’ve done really well in 50-over cricket is to win and learn at the same time.
“The 50-over side (who won the 2019 World Cup) chose themselves almost at the end of that cycle.
“That’s a great place to be as a team … you are very familiar with your own role and what you expect from your teammates.”
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