January 12, 2003

Ian Butler can't wait to get back into action

It's been a frustrating season on the sidelines for fast-medium bowler Ian Butler as he recovers from a torn quadricep muscle.

But one of the finds of last summer, who made his mark as a replacement for Shane Bond for the one-day series against England, and then kept his place in the Test side for the series that followed, is back bowling again and was sending down practice balls to New Zealand's batsmen at an optional practice in Hamilton today.

Just when he does make a return is in the hands of New Zealand Cricket's medical panel, in consultation with Northern Districts coach Bruce Blair.

Ideally, Butler would like it to be a day-night State Shield match on Friday against Central Districts but it would probably be more likely to be January 22.

"Whenever it is, it can't come too quickly for me," he said.

One of the main ways Butler had to recuperate from the injury was to get plenty of rest, and that didn't suit him at all because being laid back was not part of his character.

"Doing nothing wasn't easy and I can't wait to get back into it," he said.

At the moment, with the advancement of Kyle Mills and Jacob Oram, and the continuing development of Daryl Tuffey, and not forgetting the competition coming from players like Shayne O'Connor and Michael Mason, there was a great deal of pressure for places in the national side.

His late recovery would mean that even if a member of the World Cup squad got injured that Butler would be hard to pick because of a lack of match play but the prospect of a tour to Sri Lanka is likely to be a useful stimulant during what remains of the home domestic season.