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February 12, 2013
New Zealand fast bowler Ian Butler has admitted to having considered a move to England last year, a decision that would have involved abandoning his international career to play county cricket.
Butler's career has been dogged by injury, the most recent of which put him out of contention for the first Twenty20 against England in Auckland on February 9. He had picked up an ankle injury in the lead-up to the England series, during the warm-up games in Whangarei, meaning the wait for his first international game since December 2010 extended up until Tuesday's T20.
He has had a fine first-class 2012-13 season with Otago so far: he is second on the wickets charts at present, with 36 wickets from eight games at 23.52. But he did not have as good a season last year on and off the field, and that, Butler said, prompted him to consider the England move. "I would have signed over there for a county side and used my British passport [via his mother] like Hamish Marshall and guys like that have," he told Fairfax NZ News. "But I decided not to go. I didn't pull out but I was almost about to sign.
"I learned with Otago, you have to enjoy your cricket. As soon as you start taking that enjoyment out of it … like last year I had a few issues off the field and got dropped from my domestic T20 side and I didn't even want to play cricket.
"I started looking at using my British passport in England and things like that. When you're playing in a team environment that you enjoy, and you enjoy playing for your mates and your country, you shouldn't have to worry about what happens in the future."
Injury setbacks seemingly do not fluster Butler. Previously, after coming away from a one-dayer in 2004 with a bulging disc in his back, he was told by doctors that he would "never bowl again". To that, he said: "You don't believe everything the medical profession tells you."
Now, his focus is on Test cricket. The last of his eight Tests was way back in 2004 and he admits New Zealand's fast-bowling stocks are quite full at the moment but he hopes success in one-day cricket can feed through to the longer format.
"With the crop of bowlers we've got at the moment, I'd imagine there's a few ahead of me. The aim now is to not give people opportunities to drop me. I don't think I've ever bowled as well as I have this year. Four-day cricket is my favourite form of the game, it's not something I've given up on, and I love playing it."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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