|Full Name||Mark Alan Butcher|
|Born||August 23, 1972 Croydon, Surrey|
|Age||51 Years, 3 Months, 6 Days|
|Batting Style||Left Handed|
|Teams Played||England, English Inv XI, England A, Surrey, England Under-19|
Mark Butcher is a retired English Test cricketer, who played for Surrey in the English County Cricket Circuit from 1992 until his retirement in 2009. A left-handed batsman and occasional right-arm medium-pace bowler, Butcher played 71 Test matches across his career for England. A surprising thing though was that Butcher never represented England in limited-overs cricket.
Son of former England cricketer Alan Butcher, Mark spent his entire domestic career playing for Surrey, where his father was the coach as well. Butcher made his first-class debut in 1992 and his Test debut in 1997 against Australia in the Ashes. Butcher enjoyed a reasonably good start to his Test career, hitting two half-centuries in five matches against a powerful Australian side. In his next series against the West Indies, Butcher suffered from a dip in form just like the entire English team. However, he did well to bounce back against a strong South African side, scoring 2 half tons and a ton in a 3-match series that England went on to win 2-0.
In the 1998/99 Ashes series in Australia, Butcher started off with a bang as he scored a century in the first match of the series. After that though, Mark's form fell off a cliff as England lost the Ashes 3-1. He failed to score even a single half ton in the next 12 matches. One of the most memorable moments of Mark Butcher's career came when he was appointed as stand-in skipper for England against New Zealand. Soon after that though, Mark was dropped from the squad due to a poor run of form and a certain Marcus Trescothick rising up the ranks. Soon, Butcher's domestic form also crumbled.
At this crucial time in his career, it was Mark's father Alan that stood with him and helped him rebuild his technique. Mark made an unexpected comeback in 2001 at the no.3 spot. His never-give-up attitude helped him string together a few good scores but it was against Australia again that he set the stage on fire. Chasing a stiff target of over 300 runs, Butcher played an unbeaten knock of 173 runs off 227 balls to win the match for England. That was the only win for England in the Ashes in 2001 as they lost the series 4-1. His form was superb after that as he continued to score runs at a good rate. One of the major problems in Butcher's game was that he failed to convert his starts into big scores and would often get run out as well.
In 2004, Butcher played some of the best cricket of his career against West Indies at their home. Mark Butcher scored 296 runs in 4 matches against the Windies as England routed them 3-0. That was followed by a period of despair for Butcher as he was hampered by a number of freak injuries and his run of 42 consecutive Test appearances was broken. This again left him on the periphery of the Test team. He played his last Test match in December 2004 against South Africa. Butcher was appointed as the captain of Surrey for the 2005 season but he broke his hand and missed a large portion of the season. In 2009, after Butcher failed to overcome his injury issues, he finally decided to call it a day on his cricketing career.