Basil Fitzherbert Butcher was born on September 3, 1933 in the small sugar estate village of Port Mourant in Guyana, the first child of his parents (Barbadian father and Guyanese mother). The house in which he grew up was in the shadows of Port Mourant Community Center ground, the club where he would begin his ascent in the sport of cricket that culminated with him playing for the West Indies.
At that club, he played alongside former West Indies players like Rohan Kanhai, Joe Solomon and Ivan Mandray. Butcher would become one of the most prolific batsmen in Berbice cricket which led to him being invited to national trials along with Kanhai upon the recommendation of Robert Christiani to Clyde Walcott.
Butcher made his debut for Guyana in 1955 and was a consistent performer that led to his being invited to West Indies trials in 1957 and narrowly missed selection. He would be selected two seasons later and would make his debut on the West Indies team in the 1958/59 tour of India and Pakistan.
His career started on a high note of consistency when he equaled a world record of scoring at least a half century in his first six Test matches. That consistency was the hallmark of his career in eight of the 10 full series that he played. He was the top three West Indian batsmen in runs scored during the series.
Described as a supple wrist batsman, opposing bowlers have said that he was the most difficult West Indian batsman of his era to get out. He was also described as most efficient in dispatching bad balls to the boundary.
Some highlights of his career were his match saving 133 at Lord’s in 1963, 209 not out at Trent Bridge in 1966, which the headlines dubbed “Butchery at Trent Bridge,” his captain knock of 157 for Guyana against the touring Australians in 1965, when he batted with one hand and his five wickets for 34 against England in 1968 at Queens Park Oval in Trinidad.
Butcher was an integral part of the formidable West Indies line-up of the 60’s which included players such as Kanhai, Garfield Sobers, Conrad Hunte and Seymour Nurse. He retired in 1969 scoring 91 in his last Test innings. Butcher’s career stats were 44 Tests, 3, 104 runs and seven centuries with an average of 43.11.
Following retirement he has served as an administrator and selector in various capacities such as Vice President of the Guyana Cricket Board and Guyana’s representative.