AFTER REPRESENTING the England Performance Programme in Australia earlier this winter and ahead of the Three Lions' forthcoming ODI series Down Under, Lancashire's batsman-wicketkeeper Jos Buttler has signed up to play for the Melbourne Renegades in the KFC T20 Big Bash.
During his stay at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, he will be keeping us all up-to-date with his and the Renegades’ progress in the Big Bash.
Jos starred in a record-breaking win for the Renegades against Brisbane Heat, smashing 61 runs off just 36 deliveries and sharing in a 100-run partnership with captain Aaron Finch. The Renegades backed this up on New Year’s Day with a comfortable win against Hobart Hurricanes, the Lancs star chipping in with a crucial 20 off 17 balls.
So, plenty has happened in the tournament since my last blog. We went over to Perth on Christmas Eve to take on the Scorchers on Boxing day. This was my first Christmas away from home. Being in the warm weather and away from home was very strange. I must admit I prefer a cold England to enjoy Christmas and all that comes with it than the baking sun in Perth!
We should have beaten Perth relatively comfortably. We put in a brilliant bowling performance but didn't get it right with the bat and came up six runs short. Some honest words were spoken in the dressing room and everyone was very disappointed that we couldn't register our first win.
Initially, I was only meant to play in two games for the Renegades but with the selection of Mohammad Hafeez in the Pakistan Test squad he was unable to come over to take his place in the side which initially gave me the option to play one more game; however, since then and due to the hard work to find an overseas replacement in time I played in the game at Hobart on New Year’s Day and will line up for my last Renegades game on Saturday night against the Melbourne Stars.
It was great to play at our home ground, the Etihad Stadium, and to put in a complete performance and register our first win. It was a great evening with some spectacular hitting from Aaron Finch and Ben Rorher at the death and I was obviously delighted that I managed to contribute well with the bat and share in a 100-run partnership with Finchy! At our home games it’s a spectacular show, they wheel on big ramps onto the outfield before the game and the crowd and players to some extent watch on with baited breath as the motorbike riders perform a variety of risky tricks and backflips. It really was good fun to stand by and watch them!
On New Year’s Day we took on the Hobart Hurricanes at the Blundstone Arena and recorded our second win. We got the toss right with the aid of local knowledge to bat first even though there was a lot of rain in the air. The wicket skidded on nicely with the rain around and as it dried out got quite tacky and tougher to bat on. We posted a competitive 161 which proved to be more than enough with a great bowling performance.
On Saturday night I play my last game at home against the Stars, for which there should be a great crowd and great atmosphere, especially if the roof is closed! After that game I will join up with the ODI squad in preparation for the series.
Hope you all had a good Christmas and Happy New Year.
Picture (c) Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport
You can keep up to date with Jos’ progress by visiting the Melbourne Renegades website.