England hero Butcher could get the axe

The Trinidad Express

Thursday, February 19, 1998

MARK Butcher's Third Test heroics faded into the past yesterday when England coach David Lloyd suggested he could be dropped for the next Test against West Indies in Guyana.

Butcher, called in as a last minute replacement for the Trinidad Test, held his nerve on Tuesday as others crumbled under the pressure to guide England to a series-levelling three-wicket victory.

``It would be tough to drop Butcher but it could happen,'' Lloyd said a day after the Surrey batsman's unbeaten 24 saw England safely home just after lunch on a tense final day.

``He has put himself right at the front of the queue but if we find a dry, cracked pitch we could pick two spinners.''

A turning pitch could see England call up off spinner Robert Croft to partner spinner Phil Tufnell. On a difficult batting track in a low-scoring game at Queen's Park Oval, Butcher made 28 in the first innings but more importantly held out against a fiery spell of pace bowling by Curtly Ambrose in the second innings.

Lloyd revealed that at lunch, when England needed only seven to win with just three wickets in hand, he found Butcher in the toilet smoking a cigarette.

``I said to him 'Are you all right?' and he answered 'I'll be fine -- just leave me alone.' That tells you a lot about the man,'' the England coach said.

Butcher, who was also called in as a late replacement for Jack Russell in the abandoned First Test, replaced the injured Adam Hollioake in the third. England meet Guyana in a three-day match starting on Saturday ahead of the fourth Test which begins on February 27.

Source: The Express (Trinidad)

Contributed by CricInfo Management, and reproduced with permission

Date-stamped : 19 Feb1998 - 22:20