Surgery not an option for struggling fast bowler November 16, 2006

Butler forced to rely on medical advances

Cricinfo staff

Ian Butler: forced to chuck the idea of pain-killers © Getty Images

Ian Butler, the New Zealand fast bowler, has been reduced to relying on medical advances in an attempt to revive his international career. Butler, 24, has suffered from a bulging disc in his lower back for the past 22 months and with surgery not an option, he has to wait for the discovery of a new treatment for the problem.

Butler planned on having pain-killing injections in order to represent Northern Districts, but consultation with his coaching staff scrapped that idea. "There was no point having injections to mask the pain," he told "I didn't want to risk it for later in life. It was worth it to wait. If something happens and medical procedures improve, I could be back again."

A nerve being damaged by compression added to Butler's troubles, and while the bulging disc can be managed, he admitted life was tough. "Then daily life becomes hard. Even getting out of bed is hard," he said. "I'm not throwing away all hope of bowling but I've just got to be sensible about it. I was almost kidding myself that it [the injections] was going to be of any benefit."

After being picked as a batsman in a Twenty20 tournament last weekend, Butler decided to try bowling slower. "I was just trying to cover other bowlers," he said. "I was bowling very, very slow, it could almost be described as spin. James [Marshall] just asked me if I could do a job bowling with the keeper standing up."

Butler's last Test and one-day international appearances were in late 2004.