Former West Indies batting great Basil Butcher dies at 86

West Indies and Indian players observe a minute’s silence in honor of former West Indies cricketer Basil Butcher before the start of the second one-day international cricket match between India and West Indies in Visakhapatnam, India, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. Butcher, 86, died on Monday, Dec. 16, 2019 after a prolonged illness.
Associated Press / Aijaz Rahi

Basil Butcher, the stylish Guyana and West Indies batsman of the 1950s and 1960s, died on Dec. 16 in Florida following a long illness, according to his son, Basil Butcher, Jr.

Butcher, who played 44 Tests between 1958 and 1969, scoring 3104 runs at an average of 43.11, was 86.

ESPNcricinfo noted that Butcher, “a brilliant middle-order batsman,” who scored seven centuries, 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,” ESPNcricinfo said.

“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,” it added.

Three years later, ESPNcricinfo said 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 said.

ESPNcricinfo said it was in 1958-59 that Butcher, representing West Indies, “first made his mark in West Indies colors.” According to Butcher’s sister Blossom Butcher-Summer “My father was Guyanese to the bone, and as much as he would have been very pleased to be connected by blood to the first peoples of Guyana, my dad always told us that his mother (Guyanese) was black and that his father (Bajan) was mixed with black and East Indian – grandmother, on his father’s side, was East Indian from Trinidad and Tobago.”

Against India, it said Butcher 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 (until) his retirement,” ESPNcricinfo said.

“After Richie Benaud, the Australian legspinner, played West Indies in two series in that period, he said Butcher was the most difficult of all West Indian batsmen to dismiss,” it added.

Butcher, in fact, bowled some legspin himself, ESPNcricinfo said, stating that all of his five Test wickets came in one innings, when he claimed 5 for 34 against England at Port-of- Spain, Trinidad, in 1967-68.

ESPNcricinfo said Butcher was born on Sept. 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 neighbor of former West Indies batsman Alvin Kallicharan’s family, ESPNcricinfo said.

Future West Indies teammates Rohan Kanhai and Joe Solomon lived nearby, too, ESPNcricinfo said.

To support his cricket career that began at Port Mourant Sports Club, it said Butcher worked as a teacher, an insurance salesman, a clerk and a welfare officer.

After his retirement, Butcher ran a bauxite company in Guyana, ESPNcricinfo said.

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