Mark Butcher

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Mark Butcher
Cricket, Oval, 26th April 2007 006 (cropped).jpg
Butcher at the Oval in 2007
Personal information
Full name
Mark Alan Butcher
Born (1972-08-23) 23 August 1972 (age 50)
Croydon, Greater London, England
NicknameButch, Baz
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
BowlingRight arm medium/Off-Spin
RoleTop-order batsman
RelationsAlan Butcher (father),
Gary Butcher (brother)
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 584)5 June 1997 v Australia
Last Test30 December 2004 v South Africa
Domestic team information
Career statistics
Competition Test FC LA T20
Matches 71 280 191 13
Runs scored 4,288 17,870 4,460 210
Batting average 34.58 40.70 31.85 17.50
100s/50s 8/23 38/95 2/28 –/2
Top score 173* 259 139 60
Balls bowled 901 7,703 2,527
Wickets 15 125 49
Bowling average 36.06 33.89 45.10
5 wickets in innings 0 1 0
10 wickets in match 0 0 0
Best bowling 4/42 5/86 3/23
Catches/stumpings 61/– 263/– 63/– 4/–
Source: Cricinfo, 6 August 2009

Mark Alan Butcher (born 23 August 1972) is an English cricket commentator and former English Test cricketer, who played county cricket for Surrey from 1992 until his retirement in 2009. He was a left-handed batsman, and occasional right-arm medium-pace bowler who was also capable of bowing off spin.[1]


He went to Cumnor House School in Purley from the age of five to thirteen before moving to Trinity School in Croydon.[2] He first played for his school's U-11 side at the age of seven.[3] He was also picked up by the Surrey U-11 side and also was selected in Surrey's U-19 team. In July 1991, Mark Butcher and his father Alan Butcher became the first father-son pair ever to play against each other in first-class cricket.[4]

He married Alec Stewart's sister Judy but unfortunately the marriage did not last.[5] He dealt with various personal issues especially in 2000 following his break up with wife and axe from England side at the end of 2000. He also had his issues with alcohol and depression.[6]

Cricket career[edit]

Butcher played all his county cricket for Surrey, for whom he made his first-class debut in 1992.[7][8] He made his Test match debut in the first Test of the 1997 Ashes series at Edgbaston.[9] He opened the batting on his debut test but didn't produce the kind of scores that he would have liked but England managed to win that match by nine wickets albeit of a double century from Nasser Hussain.[10] His last Test match was in December 2004,[9] when he had played 71 Tests, making eight centuries and averaging over 34.[11]

Butcher captained England once, in a draw with New Zealand in 1999 when Nasser Hussain was injured.[11] He never appeared in a One Day International (ODI). Of players who have started in international cricket since the first ODI in 1970–71, Butcher is the "runaway leader" in terms of playing the most Test matches without appearing in an ODI.[12][13] Butcher played in 71 Tests, but as of April 2004 no other player in the ODI era had played in more than 30 Tests without playing in an ODI.[13]

Butcher enjoyed a reasonably good start to his Test career, hitting two half-centuries in five matches against a powerful Australian side.[8] He then struggled (along with the rest of the England side) against the West Indies that winter, averaging just 15.[8][14] However, in the next series he did very well, scoring two fifties and a century against South Africa.[8] Though he followed that with another impressive hundred against Australia in the first Ashes Test that winter, he then failed for the rest of that series.[15] A poor run of form followed, as he failed to score a half-century in twelve consecutive matches.[8] Despite being appointed stand-in captain for one Test against New Zealand, he was dropped from the side in the winter of 2000.[11] He subsequently lost the place in test side to none other than Marcus Trescothick.

Butcher's domestic form then suffered an uncharacteristic and dramatic decline, and he found himself languishing in the Surrey second eleven at the start of the 2001 English domestic season.[5][16] However, hard work and coaching from his father, Alan, himself a former Surrey and England player, sorted out his form.[11] He was drafted into the Test side to play the Australians and strong showings throughout that series culminated in a superb innings of 173 not out at Headingley, as England successfully chased 315 to win (although the series was by then lost).[8][17][18][19][20]

After that series, Butcher continued to prosper until a run of injuries saw him lose his place. Consistent performances had made him an essential component of the England batting line-up, to be relied upon in a crisis. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the series in the West Indies in 2003–04,[21] when he always batted well irrespective of the sometimes poor showing by various partners at the other end, and he passed fifty in four out of seven innings.[8] He was the top runscorer for England in England's emphatic series win in Caribbean by smacking 296 runs in foyr matches. A series of serious injuries kept Butcher out of the game for most of 2005,[11] and his last Test was the first Test in South Africa in December 2004.[8] The series of injury setbacks also subsequently put a dramatic end to his run of 42 successive test match appearances for England. During his illustrious yet volatile test career, he was regarded as one of the worst overnight resumers in test cricket as he often gets out quickly without adding much runs to his overnight score as he averages just 26.93 in 31 innings when it comes to starting the proceedings from overnight scores.[22]

Thereafter, he struggled to recover properly from numerous injury set-backs, and although he retained the official captaincy of Surrey his appearances for the team became sporadic. In August 2009, Butcher announced his retirement from all first-class cricket after a troubling knee injury.[23]

Since his retirement as a player, he has commentated on cricket for Sky Sports and has appeared as an expert summariser on Test Match Special, for Star Sports and ESPN Cricinfo.[24] He appeared in Sky Sports documentary titled You Guys Are History where he explores and examines why there is a massive decline in black cricketers in England since the turn of the century.[25][26]

He was awarded Honorary Life Membership of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in January 2010.[27]

Test centuries[edit]

Mark Butcher's Test centuries
No Runs Against City/Country Venue Year
1 116  South Africa Leeds, England Headingley 1998
2 116  Australia Brisbane, Australia Brisbane Cricket Ground 1998
3 173*  Australia Leeds, England Headingley 2001
4 105  Sri Lanka London, England Lord's 2002
5 123  Sri Lanka Manchester, England Old Trafford 2002
6 124  Australia Sydney, Australia Sydney Cricket Ground 2003
7 137  Zimbabwe London, England Lord's 2003
8 106  South Africa Nottingham, England Trent Bridge 2003

Music career[edit]

Butcher is also a guitar-player and singer – he sang a ballad at Surrey and England teammate Ben Hollioake's funeral.[28] Previously, in 2001, he appeared on the 'Jamie Theakston Cricket Show' on BBC Radio 5 Live, where he played a live acoustic version of "(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)" by The Stranglers with the former Stranglers' frontman Hugh Cornwell. In early 2008, Butcher started recording his debut album, Songs from the Sun House.[29] Released in 2010, it includes "You're Never Gone", the song he wrote in tribute to Hollioake.[30][31]

Mark Butcher partnered Sarah Brightman on the second series of Just the Two of Us aired on BBC One in January 2007; they came third overall.[30]

Personal life[edit]

He was born to a Jamaican mother and an English father.[32][33]

Butcher attended Cumnor House Prep School,[34] Trinity School and Archbishop Tenison's School in Croydon, and supports the local football team, Crystal Palace.[35]

At one time during his playing career, Butcher was married to former England and Surrey teammate Alec Stewart's sister Judy.[11] Surrey's former coach and player, Alan Butcher, is his father, and his brother, Gary, played for Glamorgan and Surrey.[11]


  1. ^ Updated:December 3, Shiamak Unwalla|; Ist, 2016 1:36 Pm (23 August 2015). "Mark Butcher: 10 interesting things to know about the former England cricketer". Cricket Country. Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  2. ^ "Cumnor's core values gave Mark Butcher belief | The Cricketer". Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  3. ^ "My School Sport: Mark Butcher (19 Aug 1998)". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  4. ^ "The Butchers - the father-son melody". Cricbuzz. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  5. ^ a b "'It would've been nice to have won an Ashes, having lost four'". Cricinfo. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  6. ^ "Butcher reveals torment of cricket exit". Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  7. ^ Batting by Team. Retrieved on 22 May 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Batting by season. Retrieved on 22 May 2018.
  9. ^ a b Test matches. Retrieved on 22 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Full Scorecard of Australia vs England 1st Test 1997 - Score Report |". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Mark Butcher. ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved on 22 May 2018.
  12. ^ "What are the best figures by a captain in ODIs and T20Is?". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  13. ^ a b Lynch, Steven (5 April 2004). "Most Tests without an ODI, and Zaheer's road". Cricinfo. ESPN. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  14. ^ Wilde, Simon. "Mark Butcher: 'Another tour that left us thinking: Are we ever going to be able to beat these guys?'". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  15. ^ "1st Ashes Test: Butcher conquers his fear of failure (23 November 1998)". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  16. ^ Second Eleven Championship Matches. Retrieved on 22 May 2018.
  17. ^ "Full Scorecard of Australia vs England 4th Test 2001 - Score Report |". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  18. ^ Wilde, Simon. "Mark Butcher's Headingley heroics? Nasser Hussain's night heist? This England chase was even better". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  19. ^ Wigmore, Tim (20 August 2021). "The forgotten Ashes miracle: When Mark Butcher flayed the greatest bowling attack in the world". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  20. ^ "Top Ashes moments: Mark Butcher's big Headingley ton and Richie Benaud's tactical switch". Sky Sports. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  21. ^ "One series win in 50 years: How the Caribbean remains England's final frontier". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  22. ^ "Who are the worst and best overnight 'resumers' in Test cricket?". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  23. ^ "Knee injuries force Butcher to retire". CricInfo. 9 August 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2009.
  24. ^ "Mark Butcher's analysis of 'a stinker' of a decision by third umpire puts India's host commentators to shame".
  25. ^ "Why has the number of Black cricketers in England dropped?". Sky Sports. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  26. ^ "You Guys Are History: Phillip DeFreitas, Monte Lynch and more open up on racism they faced". Sky Sports. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  27. ^ "Ashes adversaries awarded MCC life membership" Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  28. ^ Heinrich, Scott (6 April 2003). "Butcher's tribute to unsung hero". BBC News. Retrieved 5 April 2010.
  29. ^ Updated:July 3, Jaideep Vaidya|; Ist, 2014 11:40 Pm (23 August 2013). "Mark Butcher: A talented cricketer-turned-musician". Cricket Country. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  30. ^ a b Butcher in the recording studio. Surrey Cricket (18 January 2008).
  31. ^ Songs from the Sun House.
  32. ^ The Hidden race. Retrieved on 22 May 2018.
  33. ^ Cricket: Mark of a cool hero. (22 February 1998). Retrieved on 2018-05-22.
  34. ^ Cricinfo article: "My School Sport: Mark Butcher". (19 August 1998). Retrieved on 2018-05-22.
  35. ^ "Football: World Cup 2002: Test aces lifted by triumph". Sunday Mirror. 16 June 2002.

External links[edit]