Alan Raymond Butcher
January 07, 1954, Croydon, Surrey
Left hand bat
Heath Clark Grammar School
Alan Butcher was a stylish left-hand opener, particularly strong off the back foot, who captained Surrey and, in his twilight years, Glamorgan. He spent several of his formative years in Australia after his parents emigrated there, and on his return started his career as a left-arm fastish bowler before slipping into the role of specialist batsman.
After a few years on the fringe of international recognition - he played in the Test trial in 1976 - he was picked for his only Test against India at The Oval in 1979. He scored 14 and 20, although he rarely looked comfortable and missed out on that winter's Australian tour.
He was never in the reckoning again despite consistently strong performances at county level. In 1987 he ended his 15-year association with Surrey and moved to Glamorgan, taking over as captain in 1989 and eventually retiring at the end of the 1992 season following which he took on coaching roles with Essex and Surrey.
In 1998, aged 44, he made a surprise comeback for Surrey, scoring 22 and 12, when injuries and Test call-ups left them short. He returned to The Oval as coach in 2006 but he failed to change an aging team, and when Surrey were relegated without a win in 2008, he was sacked.
But a bigger assignment came calling in February 2010 when he took over from Walter Chawaguta as Zimbabwe coach. He presided over Zimbabwe's return to Test cricket in August 2011, when they won a one-off Test against Bangladesh, after a self-imposed six-and-a-half-year period away from longest format.
Butcher has a strong family association with cricket. His eldest son, Mark, played for Surrey and England, and his other son, Gary, played for Surrey and Glamorgan. In 1991 he played against Mark in a Sunday League match at The Oval. His two brothers, Martin and Ian, both played first-class cricket.
Martin Williamson February 2010
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