Published: 12 April. Written by: Becky Bargh.
He’s garnered a reputation as one of the world’s best-seen white ball batsmen, leading the England cricket team to World Cup victory only a few months ago. To cricket fans, he’s a hero; at home, he’s a father and husband; and Vitality is honoured to call him an ambassador. But who is the real Jos Buttler? Becky Bargh finds out.
He might confess to being shy by nature, but make no mistake, Jos Buttler is a fiercely competitive athlete, and a silent assassin on the cricket field.
His reputation in the game is undisputed. A safe pair of hands in the field, while his masterful batting technique borders on sorcery.
Not just one to run up the scoreboard, though – he hit 863 runs in the IPL in 2022, the second-most in a single season, ever – his entertaining style can capture the attention of even the most indifferent cricket spectators.
“People know who I am as they see you on the TV, but I’m very much myself as Jos, and cricket is just a part of my life
His thrilling approach on the strip to one side, the watchword for this father-of-two is authenticity.
“Authenticity is incredibly important to me; I’d say it’s one of those core values that I try and live by, and that just means to try and be comfortable with being yourself. I’m a shy person, that’s okay, I don’t need to try and necessarily be anything different,” he tells Vitality.
“Of course, for my job now, being a captain, there are times where I need to lead a bit differently or try and be a bit louder in the group.
“But at the same time, I don’t want to lose who I am as a person, you don’t want people to think that you are acting, you want people to follow your lead because they know you are being true to yourself, and they can get behind that.”
Being a World Cup-worthy captain
And this humility has by no means hampered his team’s performance. By being unapologetically himself, under Jos’s captaincy – which only began in June last year – England took home World Cup glory against Pakistan just five months later.
Predictably, his batting prowess shone through in the final and in the semis against New Zealand, where he was named Player of the Match and received his 100th cap.
“My own approach [to leadership] is to encourage others to be the best version of themselves and to figure out how I can help them do that.
“One of the things I’ve learnt in reading Nelson Mandela’s book, is that leadership is like being a good shepherd.
“You let the young ones run out free and let them go and enjoy themselves, and then without them realising you help the ones that are struggling a bit more, following on from behind.”
He adds: “And I think timing is also a big part of leadership, you’ve got to be authentic and be yourself, but understanding at different times if you need to step back, or if you need to lead. Or do you need to encourage others to help you out?
“So, being able to change a little bit when the situation requires is a good leadership trait to have.”
Not just heeding advice from former South African Presidents, Jos found a solid mentor in his former captain, Eoin Morgan, whom he understudied, as his Vice. for seven years. “I’d say he’s the best captain I’ve ever played for, and so a great mentor to have.”
“That was initially the hardest thing for me, judging myself against Eoin all the time. But I actually had that conversation with him and explained that […] I was feeling extra pressure to live up to be Eoin Morgan, the captain, as opposed to being who I was.”
But staying true to his values, Jos began his own journey into captaincy, taking things at his own speed and going through the motions. “I have to remember that even though I’ve played a lot of cricket, I’m actually a very young captain and that’s okay.”
More interviews with Vitality ambassadors:
- Jessica Ennis-Hill on women’s health and hormones
- Jonny Wilkinson on finding happiness in who we really are
His greatest asset…
World Cups and Test matches won’t be won on authenticity alone, however; and it would be absurd to think that Jos has excelled this far in his professional career without a competitive streak: “It’s probably my strongest asset,” he says.
“It’s the most important thing for me and my career, it’s that desire to compete and that will to win and want to be the main guy to get your team over the line.
“My teammates would attest to the fact that a red mist can descend and that real will to win shines through. That doesn’t mean that I have to shout about it and make it clear and obvious, but deep down I’m incredibly confident in my ability to perform at a level to win games for the team.
“Essentially, that’s what we want to do as sports people. Anyone that says they’re not fussed about winning, you need to have that cut-throat part of you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be humble.”
How to earn Vitality Active points
Once you’ve chosen your device, you can link it to your Vitality account through the app and start earning active points today.
And, did you know that your phone is already tracking your steps. You’re already doing the hard work, so why not get rewarded for it.
Jos, the father
They say that having children is our most humbling experience. So, what then does this already modest England captain make of parenthood?
“Cricket is such a selfish sport,” admits Jos. “I’m away for long periods on my own, doing my job, […] but becoming a father, that definitely changes how selfish you are. Being a dad, you have to do everything for your children and your perspective changes massively.”
And his journey into parenthood threw a spotlight on the support his parents gave him to pursue his cricketing career.
“It makes me realise how much my parents did for me and all the opportunities they gave me: being a taxi service, taking me everywhere, and allowing me to have a chance to live out my dream.
“It makes me incredibly grateful, because you now have that understanding of how much you care for your children.”
But the foundation of this family, Jos says, is his wife Louise. “I have so much gratitude, especially towards Louise, for still being able to do the things I do, because I’m away a lot of the time, but she is the rock of this family.”
Of course, no scenario has led this dad-of-two to falter from being “just Jos”.
“I understand that people obviously know who I am as they see you on the TV, but I’m very much myself as Jos, and cricket is just a part of my life.
“And that doesn’t mean I have to be any different.”
Vitality is excited to announce the return of the Vitality Blast next month. For the full fixture list, visit the England Cricket Board website, here.