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due for an operation on Tuesday, almost forced him out of this Test and had he not been playing so well he might have withdrawn.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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor