Jos Buttler has said England players want their recent £500,000 wage donation to help cricket’s grassroots initiatives during the coronavirus pandemic.
Last Friday England’s 16 centrally-contracted players agreed the equivalent of a 20% pay cut for three months but split the amount between good causes and the England and Wales Cricket Board, rather than solely reduce the burden on their employer.
While the ECB faces potential losses of up to £300m this summer – and may see its expensively-assembled new tournament, The Hundred, delayed by 12 months – the players wanted to retain an input into some of the money’s destination.
“It’s a very tight group of players so it didn’t take much decision-making at all. Everybody was very aware of our duty as players to contribute where we can,” Buttler said. “I hope the money can be used in all the areas where it is really needed. I think the players would love it to go towards grassroots and community [initiatives].”
Asked if it was a case of helping grassroots cricket directly, rather than offsetting any losses incurred by the new tournament, he replied: “Personally, yes. I think The Hundred is a big thing that may or may not happen this summer, it may get delayed. I know a lot of investment has gone into that but as players we’re all very aware of the other effects this is going to have, drip-feeding down into the game. And without grassroots cricket we’re nothing really.
“That’s the people we’re trying to inspire. The players are very strong on wanting that money to help that grassroots structure and pathway, because we need to bring people into the game.”
Buttler, who mentioned youth coaching and disability sports as possible recipients, is no stranger to charitable acts and at 7.30pm on Tuesday will discover the winning bid for the World Cup final shirt he put on eBay last week.
The auction, the leading bid for which sat at £65,800 overnight, was set up to raise money for London’s Royal Brompton & Harefield hospitals and, specifically, the purchase of a machine that helps patients with lung and heart problems – including the more extreme cases of Covid-19.
Given this is the shirt Buttler wore when he ran out New Zealand’s Martin Guptill to seal England’s World Cup win at Lord’s last July – and did not take off until 7am the following morning – there is a deep personal attachment to it, albeit one he fancies will increase further if its sale helps to save lives.
Buttler, whose wife, Louise, is related to the Royal Brompton’s head of paediatrics, added: “The shirt smells pretty authentic. It’s a very special one but I think it takes on extra meaning with it being able to hopefully go to the emergency cause.
“It just felt like a good thing to do and a great way to help. Obviously the fashion in which the World Cup was won and the drama, means it carries a story with it. £65,800 is an amazing amount of money. There is a day to go on the auction and hopefully we can raise a bit more.”