yThe butler stands in front of the hotel room door and throws a ball at his racket. Trent Bolt opens the door with a guitar that he hits as they walk away together. Butler plays a game about throwing nuts and berries in your partner’s mouth. Butler hugs Yashsvi Jaiswal’s left hand opener on his arms and says, “Yes, yes, come my friend” with a surprising degree of tenderness.
Butler sits in a chair as Ravichandran Ashwin describes his early memories of cricket: a giant tree he fell on as a small child, alone with his bag, from a motorbike driven by his father, a tree he always loved that he still visited when he could.
These are the Buttler-themed videos on the Rajasthan Royals YouTube channel, nine of them in the last two weeks only and they are really good. Bolt’s Guitar/Hotel has 1.8 million views so far. To give a sense of scale, stare up at the Indian cricket sky for a moment and feel how small you are is a hundred times more than ECB Captain Ben Stokes’ desk exclusively on his own channel.
Butler’s true masterpiece is Gus: My Story Style Number, with light-focused shots of him talking wistfully about losing his place in the England Test, then laughing, embracing and returning to his fellow royals – “It’s the feeling, the people around you” – while still looking And, as always, like the world’s cutest and coolest cartoon Golden Retriever somehow learned to stand on his hind legs and play helicopter stroke.
“I’m Jos Butler, the opener of the Rajasthan Royals,” he said at one point, and when you look at everything, “Yeah, you really are.” Butler has played 44 games for the Royal Family in the last three and a half years, his most with any team in any form, and more than 43 years of what he collected in the county championship. A month into the English season, he is brilliantly armed to promote and decorate his actual cricket home, the Jewel of India’s Cricket Control Board, the biggest event in the sporting calendar.
And that’s all well, good, and totally accurate, not to mention helpful. First, because it’s just such a sweet moment for Butler. The change in dynamics is noticeable. By any old school standards, Butler looked like a cricketer in doldrums after landing in England: deflated, snooker and limited to endless things. Ten weeks later he has instead become the biggest star in world cricket.
Butler was more like an overlord in this IPL, making 824 runs at 58.86, miles ahead of the chase group, with most six, fours and hundreds. What shocks you when you watch it is his silence. Indeed, Butler moves his hands these days, letting the cacophony overwhelm him and confiding in the brilliance of those quick-twitch, monstrous hands. This is a man who will push the boundaries of his talent and, most importantly, find a stage.
This is the second point. Above all, it would really be a good moment for English cricket to understand the IPL a little bit better, to not only allow the players to see this issue as an issue that needs to be addressed, but to understand why the IPL works, what the source of its energy is.
There is only one match to play, the final on Sunday between the Butler team and the Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad in front of a crowd said to be 100,000. As this thing has waned somewhat, the amazing quality of cricket has really caught the eye.
In its early years, IPL often had the loose, vague, sweaty legends of lycra-thick, hip-hugging platform dancers stretching the same material across an endless, interchangeable stage. not here. Just watch a few hits, that sweet sense of the strong orthodoxy behind the power game for this generation of gamers. For example, watching Sanju Sanson shoot the ball over the hood, ballerina’s elbow stretch, racquet face polished, and hands hit with a sexy modern swing, you’ll feel that this thing is being transported to other levels, other gears, and a unit of its own life.
This is the real lesson to be learned from the IPL. In England, there is still a tendency to see a fancy, non-original money machine attaching itself to all that the Primula Superpowered Six Hit of the Day cheese has to offer, the sparkling, bare commerce. And yes, the IPL is expected to generate £1.5 billion this year, or three times the total annual return of the European Central Bank.
But look away from the money, the idea from IPL is that it is original. It expresses and reflects a culture that happens to be bright, vibrant, confident, and distinctly nationalist, in the way baseball has captured America’s sense of a young and strong nation over the past century, a place of legends, performances, and self-mythology theater.
IPL is making stars these days; It has become a dream factory for someone like Imran Malik, who came from nothing at 22 and is now bowling at 150 km/h in front of a billion people. There is an abundance of spirit here and a sense that something is speaking to the culture around them.
What part of English sports culture is reflected in the ECB’s attempt to emulate the cent? Greed? Neglecting? Asset inventory?
What IPL is telling us is that the way to build something new is to find what was there, to reflect and glorify the culture, find the real part, and water those roots. Unable to see beyond the branding and noise, judged by unskilled marketers, English cricket instead devised the most graphic tournament imaginable, aimed simply at bucks, for its logo shirts. Watch IPL, watch Buttler, feel life in this thing. There are lessons yet to be learned here.