January 13, 2005

On Mark Butcher

Is time up for Mark Butcher?
His two Test Matches against South Africa produced one decent score (in the First Test) from 4 innings. His most notable other innings was his 13 from 70 balls. The pressure must have been on, you'd think to be forced down to a strike rate of only 24. Well, er no. England were on a roll after Strauss and Trescothick had put on 272 for the first wicket. Admittedly his innings lasted overnight, but if digging in was required, see Thorpe in that innings, who also scored a century.
In short, his form wasn't very impressive before he was injured, much like last summer.
Robert Key, whilst not the most proficient of batsmen, is producing the goods. Admittedly he had a duck in the last test, but then made a gritty 41 when England were on the rack in Cape Town, and is, as I write, approaching a century in J'burg.

Is there a way back for Butcher? There are many pros and cons. Key would be considered very unlucky to be dropped again come summer, for a potentially misfiring Butcher. But, generally speaking, many would say that Butcher is naturally a better batsman. one also need to remember that whilst Key is vulnerable to the short ball, Butcher appears vulnerable to injuries. It seems to me that Butcher is becomming increasingly reliant on that innings against Australia a few years ago to maintain his fragile reputation.

Even if Key fails to impress, who's in South Africa to take his spot? Ian Bell, who has been on the fringes of the side for about a year now. He even bowls a bit (Which Butcher used to do). He's surely going to be fancied for the Bangladesh series that preceeds the Ashes, and if he does well there…

Much as I like him, I don't think there will be many games left for Mark Butcher. When and if he gets back into the England side, he will have to cement his place immediately, otherwise he'll have to go back to Surrey and be outplayed by Mark Ramprakash…

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  1. Oh, I just published that and Key got out. Not that it changes Butcher's situation – Key's got more runs than Butcher in this series already.

    13 Jan 2005, 14:15

  2. James Lewis

    Sacrilege :–)

    13 Jan 2005, 16:22

  3. Cricketer

    Butcher has averaged 41 over the last four years, so I don't think he is living on the reputation of that one innings.

    The main criticism that can be applied to Butcher is his loss of concentration when set. I think he's made 10 fifties in his last 30 innings – reasonable enough – but hasn't converted any of those to hundreds. That is a problem.

    At the same time, some of his best innings were half–centuries in the West Indies.

    If Key can make some more runs against Bangladesh and in the fifth Test here, I think it's fair to say there will be no back for Butcher. But if he doesn't, I wouldn't write off Butcher just yet.

    13 Jan 2005, 22:24

  4. Lay Division! Write something else on your blog apart from football!


    27 Feb 2005, 15:27

  5. Except I have just realised most of it's about cricket. Oops.


    27 Feb 2005, 15:28

  6. Yep, agree about Mark Butcher. Since you wrote this, Rob Key has failed to impress as his replacement, but both Kevin Pieterson and Ian Bell have done brilliantly – KP in the ODIs and Bell on the England A tour. I think either Pieterson or Bell should play in the Ashes – Bell could slot straight in at three, and if Pieterson plays then Vaughan and Thorpe should move up a place and we could have a KP–Freddie double act at 5 and 6!

    07 Mar 2005, 21:29

  7. Lucy Griffiths

    It's so time you wrote something else on your blog. I've read everyone else's and I'm bored. I need people to write more things, surely everyone else is just as bored as me and in need of doing random bloggage?? Sigh.

    21 Apr 2005, 15:59

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