Basil Fitzherbert Butcher (born 3 September 1933) is a former West Indian cricketer. He was the first person of Amerindian descent to represent the West Indies, and was regarded as a stylish yet reliable right-handed middle-order batsman in the star-studded West Indian batting line-up of the 1960s. Australian cricketer and media personality Richie Benaud regarded him as the most difficult of the West Indian batsmen to dismiss.
Butcher was born and raised on a sugar estate just outside the village of Port Mourant, in what was then British Guiana. Although a small village, Port Mourant has produced a number of great cricketers; Butcher was a neighbour of Alvin Kallicharran‘s family, and future Test team-mates Rohan Kanhai and Joe Solomon lived very close-by. Butcher left school without completing his education and worked a variety of jobs, including as teacher, Public Works Department clerk, insurance salesman and Welfare Officer, while playing cricket for Port Mourant Sports Club.
Butcher was selected for the 1958-59 tour to India and made his Test debut along with Wes Hall in the first Test at Brabourne Stadium. He scored 28 and 64 not out, batting with Kanhai as a runner and sharing a 134-run stand with Garfield Sobers before the West Indies declared. The match ended in a draw. Butcher scored his maiden Test century in the third Test at Eden Gardens, which the West Indies won by an innings and 336 runs. He was one of three batsmen to score a century in the West Indies innings, finishing with 103 in three hours with 15 fours, and sharing a 217-run partnership with Kanhai which lasted just over three hours. He backed up with a second consecutive century in the Fourth Test at Madras, scoring 142 in just over five-and-a-half hours with 10 fours, playing a key role in the West Indies’ series-clinching victory. He finished the series with 486 runs at an average of 69.42.
He struggled until the 1963 tour of England, where he rediscovered his form by making 383 runs which included an innings of 133 from a team total of just 229, helping the West Indies to a draw at Lord’s. The innings became legendary because during the interval he had received news through a letter that his wife had had a miscarriage back home in Guyana.
Butcher was an occasional legspinner. He took 5 Test wickets which all came in the one innings, 5 for 34 against England at Port-of-Spain in 1967-68. He was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1970.
Life after cricket
He runs a bauxite company in Guyana.