Deserved success for popular player who refused to give up

In a fair world, runs would accrue only to deserving batsmen. It does not always happen.

In a fair world, runs would accrue only to deserving batsmen. It does not always happen. But in the case of Mark Butcher's second hundred of the current Test series, justice has been done. If success reflected dressing room popularity, he would be England's brightest star.

That said, Butcher's career has hardly lacked achievement, as any batsman who has not scored two Ashes hundreds would point out. Yet two years ago, he seriously considered quitting, turbulent times in his personal life coinciding with a wretched and seemingly irreversible loss of form on the field.

Dropped from the Test side in 1999, exposed for technical flaws in the following South Africa series, he drew so little encouragement from his form in 2000 that he later admitted giving serious thought to retirement. He was persuaded not to and the fruits of many hours of corrective therapy with his father, Alan, witnessed first against Australia last summer, have ripened again.

Yesterday's century took his aggregate Test runs since his comeback last summer to 1,186 from 24 completed innings, at an average of 49.40.

"I would probably have had to pinch myself to believe it was happening at the end of last summer but now, without wishing to sound big-headed, I expect to score Test runs each time I walk out to the wicket. I feel so good I'm even tempted to put off having my knee operation, although I appreciate this is probably the best time to have it if I am to be fit for the series against India."

A left knee injury, due for an operation on Tuesday, almost forced him out of this Test and had he not been playing so well he might have withdrawn.

"It was feeling very sore but I had a really good net on Tuesday and persuaded the physio to delay my fitness test until Wednesday morning. When you are in good form you really want to continue and I did not want to miss the opportunity to score more runs. I'd like to play in the NatWest Series but I appreciate that the Tests against India will take precedence. I'm contracted to the ECB and the decision will be theirs in the end."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Rebel, rebel: Vivienne Westwood in her baroque-influenced early-Nineties designs
fashionWhy we mustn't take Dame Vivienne Westwood for granted
News
The police have been criticised in a raid on the luxury home of Sir Cliff Richard
people
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
Sport
Harry Kane
premier leagueLive minute-by-minute coverage
Arts and Entertainment
Morgana Robinson
arts + entsIt is not easy interviewing Morgana Robinson. Here's why...
News
video
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin