BASIL Butcher, said to be the first person of Amerindian descent to represent the West Indies cricket team, has died at the age of 86.
Butcher, who made his West Indies debut during the team’s 1958-59 tour of India, died on Monday, in Florida, following a lengthy illness. He played 44 Tests between 1958 and 1969, scoring 3,104 runs and was named one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 1970.
His death, which was confirmed by his son Basil Butcher Jr, was followed by a flood of tributes, including that of Cricket West Indies chief Ricky Skerritt, who issued a statement on Tuesday.
“It is with great sadness that Cricket West Indies has learnt of the passing of West Indies batting legend Basil Fitzherbert Butcher.
“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 has 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. West Indies Cricket has lost a legend and a proud pioneer.”
Skerritt continued, “He later became part of a prolific West Indies batting line-up, that excited world cricket and brought great joy and pride to Guyanese and West Indian people everywhere. After his illustrious playing days, he served both West Indies and Guyana cricket selflessly off the field in administration.”
Butcher was born in Port Mourant, Berbice, Guyana on September 3, 1933, to Ethelbert Butcher, his father from Barbados, and his mother Matilda Butcher of Guyana.
He was the oldest and only boy among his six siblings.