West Indies bat­ting great Butcher passes away at 86

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Ge­orge­town, Guyana - Basil Butcher, the stylish Guyana and West Indies bats­man of the 1950s and 1960s, died on Mon­day in Florida fol­low­ing a long ill­ness aged 86.

He played 44 Tests be­tween 1958 and 1969, scor­ing 3104 runs at an av­er­age of 43.11, and was named one of Wis­den's Crick­eters of the Year in 1970.

Of his seven Test hun­dreds, Butcher is best re­mem­bered for his sec­ond-in­nings 133 - in the 1963 Lord's Test against Eng­land - which is of­ten rated as one of the greatest matches to have been played at the ground. He made those runs against an Eng­land at­tack led by Fred True­man af­ter hav­ing learnt of his wife's mis­car­riage just mo­ments be­fore walk­ing out to bat.

Three years later, Butcher posted his high­est Test score of 209 not out, against Eng­land in Not­ting­ham. It helped West Indies over­haul a first-in­nings deficit of 90 to win by 139 runs.

It was in 1958-59 that Butcher, un­der­stood to be the first player of Amerindian de­scent to rep­re­sent West Indies, first made his mark in West Indies colours. Against In­dia, he scored 486 runs at 69.42 in his de­but se­ries, but fell away for the next few sea­sons.

He then re­turned to the side in 1963 for the Eng­land tour, and was a reg­u­lar fix­ture in the team af­ter that till his re­tire­ment. Af­ter Richie Be­naud, the Aus­tralian leg-spin­ner, played West Indies in two se­ries in that pe­riod, he said Butcher was the most dif­fi­cult of all West In­dian bats­men to dis­miss. Butcher, in fact, bowled some leg-spin him­self. All of his five Test wick­ets came in one in­nings when he claimed 5 for 34 against Eng­land at Port of Spain in 1967-68.

Butcher was born on Septem­ber 3, 1933 and was raised on a sugar es­tate out­side the vil­lage of Port Mourant in what was then known as Bri­tish Guiana. He was a neigh­bour of Alvin Kal­licha­ran's fam­ily and fu­ture West Indies team­mates Rohan Kan­hai and Joe Solomon lived nearby too. To sup­port his cricket ca­reer that be­gan at Port Mourant Sports Club, he worked as a teacher, an in­sur­ance sales­man, a clerk, and a wel­fare of­fi­cer.

Basil Butcher

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