West Indies mourn 'batting legend' Butcher, dead at 86

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Basil Butcher
Basil Butcher

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua and Barbuda — Basil Butcher was hailed as a West Indies "cricket legend" after the former Test batsman died aged 86.

Butcher was a member of a star-studded West Indies top order for over a decade in a Test career starting in the late 1950s. He played alongside Rohan Kanhai and Garry Sobers before they were joined in the side by Clive Lloyd and Roy Fredericks.

Guyana right-hander Butcher more than held his own in such distinguished company, scoring 3,104 runs in 44 Tests at an average of more than 43, including seven hundreds, from 1958-69.

Butcher's best performances were reserved for England. He made 133 in the second innings of the Lord's Test of 1963, which produced one of cricket's most dramatic draws.

That hundred was all the more remarkable as during an interval he opened a letter which told him his wife had had a miscarriage in Guyana.

Three years later, Butcher compiled his highest Test score of 209 not out, against England in Nottingham.

That unbeaten double century helped West Indies overhaul a first-innings deficit of 90 to win by 139 runs.

Cricket West Indies said Butcher had died in Florida on Monday, according to his son, Basil Butcher Jr.

CWI president Ricky Skerritt said on Tuesday that Butcher had been "part of a prolific West Indies batting lineup, that excited world cricket and brought great joy and pride to Guyanese and West Indian people everywhere".

Skerritt, passing on the board's condolences to Butcher's family, added: "West Indies cricket has lost a legend and a proud pioneer. After his illustrious playing days, he served both West Indies and Guyana cricket selflessly off the field in administration."

Butcher is survived by his wife, Valerie, and children, Brian, Bruce, Basil Jr and Blossom. — AFP


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