With the T20 fast approaching, aspiring cricketers and fanatics alike will be looking to the England stars to secure a three lions win. So where’s the pressure? Not only will the eyes of the cricketing world be firmly fixed upon the wickets for the T20, but of the 149 tests played since 1928, West Indies have won 54 with 51 resulting in a draw. So how is it that England’s top cricketers prepare both physically and mentally for such an epic event?
Ahead of The Ashes, Joe Root, England captain and Myprotein ambassador recently called on the troops to see the T20 as “an opportunity for the guys in this series to stamp their mark”. Root, who will break an England record if he passes 50 with the bat in a 11th successive Test match, said: “I’m expecting it to be tough, Test cricket always is”.
The T20 has been a seminal experience for right-handed batsman, wicket keeper and vice-captain, Jos Buttler, who made his debut at a T20 game against India in 2011. Myprotein athlete Jos recalled the overwhelming moment, saying: “Walking into the dressing room with guys like Stuart Broad, Kevin Pieterson, Graeme Swann and a load of other guys I have seen on TV was surreal. Initially, you feel overwhelmed to be in the presence of superstars but then actually, they are just normal blokes who are really good at cricket, it was quite refreshing.”
Speaking of the nerve-wracking experience of his debut, Buttler recalled: “It was very loud and there were lots of fans waiting outside the ground. I remember Craig (Kieswetter ) saying this is a little bit different to county cricket that you’ve been playing, it was quite daunting. I actually didn’t bat that game, we had won before I batted but it took me a while to really take to international cricket and get used to the pressures of it.”
Keeping a sense of humor also seemingly comes as good advice in the face of an elite challenge. According to Buttler, pranks are commonplace even in the changing rooms of Test-level cricket. “Joe Root is definitely one of them!” he said. “He still claims it wasn’t him but he quite likes to go round at some point during the day to snip the toes out of your socks. So you put your socks on and they come up to your knee, or you go to put your boxer shorts on and suddenly the bottom is missing and you pull them up under your shoulders. The “snipper” in the dressing room is someone to be aware of!”
The drinking culture that cricket once was is now a thing of the past, with players taking more care of their diet. That said, Buttler spoke of how it’s not completely banned and that it still prevails, keeping a balance and perspective on the momentous occasion. “I feel like a lot of the best moments in cricket come from being at the bar and talking cricket with someone,” Buttler said. “It’s probably one of the places where you learn the most. Everyone frees up after a few beers, it’s a fantastic experience!
“I have recently been to the IPL in India, the twenty20 tournament with the world’s best players around. If you go down to the bar you can guarantee that some of the world’s best cricketers are sat in there, you can share a beer with them, talk about different cricketing stories, funny stories that they know throughout their career and they really are some of the best memories you get in cricket.” After the mental preparation and physical training, the rest, as they say, is talent.
This year the hotly anticipated rematch of the ICC World T20 final will take place at Emirates Riverside on Saturday, 16 September 2017