Butcher crocks himself to make life easy for selectors

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The Independent Online

Mark Butcher looks to have solved any potential selectorial headache over whether he or Kent's Robert Key should play in the second Test against the West Indies at Edgbaston.

The unlucky Surrey batsman missed this first Test after suffering a whiplash injury in a car crash last Monday, just as he was recovering from a torn thigh muscle. Yesterday the Fates conspired to thwart him again. He had recovered from the whiplash setback and yesterday was all ready to turn out for Surrey against Warwickshire at Guildford when he was struck down again.

On this occasion the hapless Butcher was at home when he suffered another injury to his right thigh. He explained: "I was pottering around at home, lifting a few boxes when I suddenly felt my thigh go again. It felt like a dead leg.

"I am thoroughly fed up - I was hoping to play for Surrey today because, ironically, my neck is a lot better. I went to the ground and faced a couple of throw-downs but I had to give up. I went to see the Surrey physiotherapist and another little tear was diagnosed, an inch up from the previous injury.

"I haven't got a clue how bad it is or how long I will take to recover, but I will continue with treatment with the physio on Monday and Tuesday. Surrey have another game on Tuesday and I am hoping I will be able to play in that, but I am not holding out much hope.

"These things seem to come along all at once, but I can't complain because I have had a pretty good run. I guess this might make it easier for the England selectors, though."

It is not only injuries that come along in clusters for England. Michael Vaughan yesterday became the second Englishman, and second England captain to score a century in each innings of a Test match at Lord's, following Graham Gooch, who scored a triple hundred and a second-innings century against India in 1990.

The only other batsman to have achieved the feat at headquarters was George Headley of the West Indies in 1939. Afterwards, Vaughan said: "Just to be mentioned with those great players is amazing."

Vaughan's unbeaten 101 yesterday made him the eighth England player to achieve the feat - Yorkshire's Herbert Sutcliffe twice managed this impressive double. The last Englishman to do so was Alec Stewart, against the West Indies in Barbados in 1994.

The Yorkshireman had said coming in to this match that he has spent the previous week and a half working on his batting, including a one-on-one session with the England coach, Duncan Fletcher, up at Leeds. That hard work has clearly paid off.