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Thread: Mark Butcher - Underated

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    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    Mark Butcher - Underated

    Bottom line is, this guy should have played for England much more than he did imo, and is a better player than his test average indicates. I more than anyone else openly acknowledge the fact that he suffered from extreme lapses in concentration from time to time, but more often that not he came up with a very helpful innings for England. For example, during the tour of the west indies in 2004 he consistantly came up with very useful innings, that had england been without the result of the matches could well have been different. He scored well up to his last match against South Africa a year later, and were it not for his injury one feels he would have stayed in the side much longer.

    I'm not suggesting that he sould be reinstated to the side now (though imo it wouldnt be the worst move in the world), but I think there is a distinct lack of appreciation for all the work he did for england throughout his time in the side, and is much a forgotten man these days. Though he had his obvious faults he was a very decent batsman for mine, and was much more competent than several others who have played for England in his place.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Why did I think this was going to be a copied article about someone else with a few names changed?

    Seriously - I always thought Butcher should have had a far better career than he did. His loss of form early in 1998\99 right through 1999 and 1999\2000 (where he went something like 21 innings without a half-century ) was nothing sort of inexplicable. He was picked for too long, undoubtedly, he shouldn't have gone on the South Africa tour in 1999\2000. What was odd was, his domestic form in the time in question remained excellent.

    And of course, when he got back in the side in 2001, all was well for a time. Then, more due to circumstances outside his control than his own fault, he lost his place in 2004, regained it briefly in 2004\05, and hasn't been seen since. As I say, I don't really know that he's a great deal of blame there, it was far more misfortune than anything else. Injury, then Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen appearing on the scene and immediately doing well. Still think he probably deserved selection more than Alastair Cook in 2005\06, too, but thankfully that worked-out well enough. EDIT: actually, something's suggesting to me that he might have been injured when we were in India - not 100% sure though. But there's absolutely no way I'll ever consider Paul Collingwood a superior batsman, not a cat-in-hell's chance.

    It's the earlier part of his career that most frustrates me.
    Last edited by Richard; 03-03-2008 at 03:44 AM.
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    International Coach Barney Rubble's Avatar
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    Definitely a very talented player. You've only got to look at his 173* against the Aussies to know that. Clearly had some mental issues with his batting though, shame he never managed to work those out in time. He thinks a lot about the game though, always thought he'd probably make a good coach - always seemed like he knew what he was doing wrong at Test level, he just couldn't put it right.

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    International Captain Woodster's Avatar
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    My frustration with Butcher was that he was able to perform at the very highest standard against the finest bowling attacks and produce genuine match winning innings (his 173* against Aussies in 2001 gave England a hugely unlikely 6 wicket win, was his best example). His experience in the West Indies in 2004 was integral to the side, alongside Hussain, he helped nullify a lively and exuberant West Indies attack.

    His concentration was his big thing, and he got a little loose once bedded in. His stats explain this, he passed 50 on 31 occasions but made only 8 centuries.

    Perhaps prematurely out of the Test squad, but testament to the players mentioned above in Bell, Pietersen etc for ensuring he had no free passage back into the side following his injury problems.


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    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    His experience in the West Indies in 2004 was integral to the side, alongside Hussain, he helped nullify a lively and exuberant West Indies attack
    Yeah, I was watching the review of this series last night, and it struck me that how without the graft and resilience of these two players England could have potentially really struggled throughout this series, as for the majority of it Trescothick, Vaughan, Flintoff and Read offered nothing with the bat and were guilty of playing ridiculous shots and getting out in single figures.

    Another thing to note, was the improvement made by Ashley Giles since the end of this series, throughout the tour of the west indies he was poor, really shockingly bad at times, but after then he really turned his fortunes around and made the best of his abilities.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Don't think Giles really improved at all TBH, he'd taken 16 wickets in the First and Second Tests in Sri Lanka just before that tour.

    Only thing that changed for Giles soon (though not for another 2 Tests, he took 3-119 and 0-67 in his next 2 Tests) after that WI tour was the fact that he actually got some spin-friendly conditions at home, something he'd never had before, he'd only ever got them in the subcontinent previously. And on the 3 spin-friendly surfaces that summer he took 24-448. In the last 2 Tests, when the surfaces become less spin-friendly again, he took 4-177.

    In fact, never again would Giles be terribly effective after those 3 Tests in summer 2004. Only on perhaps two-and-a-half occasions from 2004\05 onwards (PE 2004\05, Edgbaston 2005 and the first-innings at Old Trafford the next game) did he get anything in the surface again, and on these occasions he did not cash-in to his usual, previous standards, though his contribution was unquestionably vital to the dominant positions England found themselves in in each match).
    Last edited by Richard; 03-03-2008 at 08:24 AM.

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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    An ok-decent Test cricketer.

    Dont remeber anyone at the time expecting him to be anything special, and he wasn't.
    Last edited by Goughy; 03-03-2008 at 09:24 AM.
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    You'll Never Walk Alone Nate's Avatar
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    Loved his innings against Australia in the Ashes. Remember having him in my World XI at the time too. Agreed re: seemed to realise where he was going wrong but couldn't fix it.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nnanden View Post
    Loved his innings against Australia in the Ashes.
    Haha, I challenge anyone who saw it to not do TBH. And given the few number of posts and the large number of mentions, I'd guess not many would.

    One of the best innings I've ever seen. Rarely has such menacing bowling so quickly been made to look so easily handle-able.

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    Cricket Spectator Calvin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Haha, I challenge anyone who saw it to not do TBH. And given the few number of posts and the large number of mentions, I'd guess not many would.

    One of the best innings I've ever seen. Rarely has such menacing bowling so quickly been made to look so easily handle-able.
    yeah but what was the point of the innings, England was done and dusted lost the series it was just a matter of avoiding a clean sweep.

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    International Captain Woodster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin View Post
    yeah but what was the point of the innings, England was done and dusted lost the series it was just a matter of avoiding a clean sweep.
    And it wouldn't have bothered Mcgrath, Warne, Lee and Gillespie getting hit about ???

    I take your point that the series was won, but he still had to make a big score against an excellent attack. Australia do not give anything away easily.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin View Post
    yeah but what was the point of the innings, England was done and dusted lost the series it was just a matter of avoiding a clean sweep.
    Exactly, and avoiding a clean-sweep - especially at home, and especially after all the hope that had been invested in that series before it began - was a hugely important thing.

    And to see it done so unexpectedly was a real uplift. Anyone who watched that innings (and I'm fairly sure I saw every ball, if not I only missed 3 or 4) will never, ever forget it.

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    Request Your Custom Title Now! Burgey's Avatar
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    I think, sadly, he will be remembered as one who just didn't get the most out of his considerable ability. There are plenty of players like that of course.
    The innings against Australia was a great one, though it has contributed a lot to my perception of him, in that he produced such a great knock but didn't do it as often as we would have liked to see. He was/ is terrific to watch, imo.

    Talk about what was the point of the knock is silly, imo. Every test is important, and no one can seriously suggest that Australia were doing anything other than looking to rip through England again. Sure the declaration was made to look too generous, but imo that was because of the brilliance of Butcher's innings, not because the bowling was poor.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    It certainly was. There's no way on Earth that was a poor declaration. There would've been no sense whatsoever if Australia had batted on longer: the weather was threatening, the pitch had offered plenty and plenty to bowlers all game; the bowlers were McGrath (who'd taken a superlative seven-for in the first-innings), Gillespie and Warne (though he struggled massively at Headingley in all 3 Tests there); and it's exceptionally rare for 300-plus to be chased-down under far more favourable circumstances.

    It really annoys me when people try to devalue that innings by calling it a generous\poor declaration. As it does when people talk about the fact it was a dead game. Does no-one seriously appreciate how awful an Australian whitewash would have been in that series for us?

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    International Coach wpdavid's Avatar
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    It's easily forgotten how important some of his knocks were early in the Vaughan era. If he'd gone cheaply against SA at Trent Bridge instead of going on to make a ton, we could easily have gone 2-0 down and that would have been that. Likewise his pair of 50's in the first 2 tests in the WI nine months later. They may not look much now, but with Vaughan & Tres gone for next to nothing, we could very easily have folded and lost one or both of those games. Which would have prevented any momentum being built up towards the subsequent triumphs against SA & Aus

    Ditto all of the above regarding Hussain, btw.

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