Jos Buttler has hailed ‘pioneer’ Kevin Pietersen for ‘paving the way’ for more English players to feature in the Indian Premier League.
Pietersen made his IPL debut in the second edition of the tournament in 2009 and insisted on playing despite some resistance from the ECB at the time.
Since then, England have given their top players the green light to secure lucrative contracts in the Indian Premier League and Buttler was delighted to be given the opportunity to play with and against some of the best players in the world.
On Pietersen’s impact, the England wicketkeeper-batsman said: ‘English cricket has got quite an interesting history with the IPL.
‘Obviously, the [Sky Sports] documentary about Kevin Pietersen over the last year or so and how he wanted to get involved and the roadblocks he faced.
‘He did really pave the way for a lot of us to go and now play in the IPL, with more blessing then there used to be from English cricket.
‘He is a pioneer for us, in the way he played and in building the steps in place to trust and realise just how important the IPL is for developing cricketers.’
Buttler – who was retained by Rajasthan Royals for IPL 2020, which has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic – also gave an insight into how the tournament benefits players.
He told the BBC podcast The Doosra: ‘There’s no doubt that it [the IPL] has helped English cricket and the numbers of players who have been involved in IPL in the last few years.
‘IPL was always something I was desperate to play. For me it’s the best tournament in the world, I know the World Cup’s different, take that out because you’re playing for your country.
‘In the IPL, some of the match-ups you get to see in games – [Royal Challengers] Bangalore’s top three, for a few years, had [Chris] Gayle, [AB] de Villiers, and [Virat] Kohli coming up against a [Jasprit] Bumrah or a Dale Steyn or [Lasith] Malinga.
‘As a kid growing up that is what you want to play, you want to play fantasy cricket.
‘You want to mix all the teams together and wonder what it will be like if Kohli and de Villiers are batting at the same time in the same team.’
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