FOLLOWING the passing of former Guyana and West Indies batsman Basil Butcher in Florida on Monday night, Cricket West Indies (CWI), along with the Guyana and Berbice Cricket Boards, has expressed sympathy to the family and friends of the late cricketing icon.Born in Port Mourant, Berbice, Guyana, on September 3, 1933, to his Barbadian (St Phillip) father, Ethelbert Butcher, and Guyanese mother, Matilda Butcher, Basil was the eldest and only boy, with six sisters.The 86-year-old Butcher eventually went on to play 44 Tests for the Windies back in the 1950s and 60s and ended with 7 centuries and 16 half-centuries. His solid batting average of 43.11 in Tests was highlighted by his 209 not out at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. In 169 first-class matches, the legendary Berbician scored 11 628 runs at the high average of 49.90 with 31 centuries and 54 fifties.CWI ISSUES STATEMENT CWI president Rickey Skerritt issued a sympathetic statement on behalf of himself and the Board. “It is with great sadness that Cricket West Indies has learnt of the passing of West Indies batting legend Basil Fitzherbert Butcher. He later became part of a prolific West Indies batting lineup, that excited world cricket and brought great joy and pride to Guyanese and West Indian people everywhere.“The name Basil Butcher is forever etched on the honours board at Lord’s cricket ground, as one of a select group of players who have scored a Test Hundred at Lords”.“Cricket West Indies would like to extend sincere condolences to Basil’s wife, Valerie Pamela Butcher, children Brian, Bruce, Basil Junior, Blossom and the extended Butcher family”.GCB EXTENDS HEART-FELT CONDOLENCES The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) was also among those who recognised the loss of the iconic cricketer and paid their respects with their heartfelt release. “Basil Fitzherbert Butcher was clearly a great son of our soil, and has contributed tremendously to the cricket structure and development of Guyana’s cricket. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time, as we share their pain and grief, may his soul rest in eternal peace”.BCB REMEMBERS BUTCHER Meanwhile, BCB president Hilbert Foster recently hailed the batsman for his overall contributions to Berbice, Guyana and West Indies cricket. In the official release, the BCB said Butcher’s death will leave an irreplaceable void in the fraternity.“Mr Butcher died yesterday after a long illness in the USA. Butcher in 1958 became the third Berbician to play Test cricket and went on to represent the West Indies. Butcher also had the best bowling figures for a Berbician for many years before Devendra Bishoo replaced him. He took 5 for 34 against England”.“The BCB salutes the memory of this great and legendary man, who would always have a special place in our heart and those who had the joy of seeing him bat during his career.“He was inducted into our Hall of Fame and is a deserved member of our all-time Berbice XI and received our highest award – ‘The Tribute to Heroes. The president and executives of the BCB would like to express our deepest sympathies to the family of the late Basil Butcher and wish to assure them that we share their grief”.
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