David Gower spoke to Butcher today, who was forced to pull out due to another injury (albeit yet another freakish one). He was replaced by Key again who, in the summer, scored freely and brilliantly for England v The West Indies (see pic above). Gower mentioned that he [Butcher] being the 2nd and youngest of the 2 veterans in the team (the other Thorpe) could have a key role (pardon the pun) in sheperding the younger players in the years to come, assuming Thorpe retires after The Ashes (which some speculate he might).
I’m not so sure……
Butcher has, for the past 3 or 4 years been touted as England’s most consistent batsman; and yes, he has. But he hasn’t scored a century in a long time, and right now looks like a man with 1001 troubles on his mind. The shots he’s got out to in this series alone have been woeful, criminal, ugly bloody shots – and he’s our 2nd most senior player! A player once spoken about as a potential successor to the now retired Nasser Hussain! Not good.
The memories of his marvellous, wonderous, one-off innings v Australia aren’t as fresh in our minds as before. One great innings – and, yes, it was great – doesn’t secure your future as a Test number 3 ad finitum, and so now’s the time for Key to be our new number 3. And – on this pitch – he has a terrific chance of cementing that place (mind you, after his 200ish this summer you couldn’t blame him for getting the mortar ready then!)