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Cricketers on their milestones

Alan Butcher

Facing Roberts, smashing china

Alan Butcher on wafting to his first hundred, a planned tantrum, and playing with his son

Interview by Jack Wilson

July 9, 2012

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Alan Butcher speaks to the media on the eve of Zimbabwe's return to Tests, Harare, August 1 2011
Alan Butcher: "Be yourself" © Zimbabwe Cricket
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Players/Officials: Alan Butcher | Mark Butcher
Teams: England | Surrey | Zimbabwe

First first-class hundred
I can't remember my first hundred - but my first first-class one came against Warwickshire at Edgbaston. I seem to remember wafting outside the off stump even more than usual and I must have played and missed about 400 times.

First bowler I feared
Without doubt, in the early '70s it would have to have been Andy Roberts. He was playing a second-team game in Bournemouth while he was trialling for Hampshire and he was particularly dangerous. We'd played them on a pudding of a pitch a few weeks before, which was like playing on plasticine, and our opener kept charging him. It only served to make him more aggressive when we next played them.

First time I realised my son Mark might play international cricket
It was pretty early on. I first chucked a ball at him when he was about two in the back garden and he rocked on to his back foot and smashed it through extra cover with a straight bat. I remember thinking, "Oh okay, there's something there", and I thought then if I can keep him on the straight and narrow he's got half a chance.

First time I lost my cool as a coach
I remember an incident when Surrey 2nds played against the MCC Young Cricketers. I think we ended up winning the game, but when we used to play them, a few experienced first-team guys didn't afford the MCC the respect they should have done, which was not a very pleasant trait. On one occasion I remember throwing the tea cups around at Shenley. It was all rehearsed and choreographed to an extent, and I had to do it to make a point. I know it shocked a lot of the players.

First piece of advice for a young player
I always say - and I have just done the same to a young lad who has joined us in the Zimbabwe squad - be yourself. Don't try and be what myself or the other coaches are looking for. We want to see you as a player, not you trying to be someone else.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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