Cricket legend Ian Butcher, a Barnes local, is using his love for cricket to mentor and coach today’s young talent. And on 2 July 2017, you could undertake one of his star-studded cricketing masterclasses…
For sports fans, the Butcher cricket family need no introduction. With a solid sports career behind him that sparked in the 80s, which saw him top 1,000 runs in a season (twice), the youngest sibling from the brother trio that founded the family’s legacy, Ian Butcher, is now passing the baton to the next generation with his Butch4Cricket initiative.
A completely personal, one-to-one approach when it comes to training young cricketers, where your mindset is just as important as your physical abilities, Ian – known to his friends and family as simply ‘Butch’ – is turning conventional methods upside down and making cricket more accessible.
With his niece, Bryony – the daughter of his brother, Alan Butcher – serving as a brilliant example of what can be achieved, Ian is passionately pioneering for more females to be included and considered for professional cricket teams. ‘When I was in school, a girl playing cricket was really unheard of.
Now, schools are actually throwing out rounders in favour of cricket,’ he explains. ‘Attitudes have changed for the better, so let’s get girls considering careers in cricket seriously and let’s not stand in their way, but actually enable them to do so. This is no longer a game reserved solely for men.’
For as long as he can remember, Ian has eaten, slept and breathed cricket. He moved to Australia when he was very young and his parents both had a great love of cricket, passing the bug to all their offspring until the sport had a cult following in the Butcher household. And so naturally we’d assume that years of competitive sibling rivalry ensued – but Ian says this was not the case at all.
‘My career path was always clear,’ he says. ‘Watching my brother [Alan] gain momentum in his career spurred me on in the most positive way possible, it wasn’t about competing with each other as much as it was about each of us being the best we could be in our own right. I was always told to focus on academics and that I’d never make a career out of cricket. Well, I guess they were wrong!’
I was always told to focus on academics and that I’d never make a career out of cricket. Well, I guess they were wrong!
Ian’s newfound commitment to sharpening the cricket hopefuls of the future has brought him to The Harrodian School in Barnes where interest in the sport has skyrocketed, so much so that his Butch4Cricket initiative is now in need of a new space to expand into.
As the talented sportsman reminisces and becomes nostalgic about his heyday, he notes his time coaching the Rwandan cricket team among his most treasured memories, forever inspired by their sheer determination, hope and positivity against all odds – something that he says changed his life.
Humility runs through the acclaimed sportman’s veins. From playing against some of the world greats to sharing his first beer with David Gower – who sings Butch4Cricket’s praises and is now a very close friend of his – spending time giving back to those who had nothing but the will to play cricket is what he values above all else.
And it’s this approach to life, sports and success that the Butcher extraordinaire is instilling in the young generation of today, handing them the tools to tackle a difficult sport that requires a seamless unity between mind, body and skill.
The Butchers: In a Class of Their Own
On Sunday 2 July, The Butchers will host a special coaching masterclass, In a Class of Their Own, with special guest appearances at Barnes Cricket Club.
Hosted by the renowned Butcher family, the day will consist of first class cricket coaching demonstrations interspersed with cricket coaching for children by butch4cricket and culminating in an exclusive panel discussion with Butch (Leicestershire and Gloucestershire), Alan (England, Surrey, Glamorgan and Head Coach of Zimbabwe and Surrey), Mark (England, Surrey and Sky TV Presenter), Gary (Surrey and Glamorgan and Sports Coach at Kings College Wimbledon).
Magic Radio and Magic Soul Presenter Angie Greaves will be there warming up the crowd, as well as a live performance by singer/songwriter Susie Webb who tours, records and performs extensively with legendary artists like Queen, Sting and Pavarotti. There will also be a cash BBQ and refreshments.