Cricketer-cum-musician Mark Butcher: Impact of Lord’s win impossible to measure

By Alex Green, PA

Former England batsman turned musician Mark Butcher has described the impact of England’s World Cup win on the future of the sport as “impossible to measure”.

The 46-year-old, who played for England between 1997 and 2004, said the dramatic tie-break conclusion to Sunday’s final could convert a new generation of fans to the sport.

He compared the victory, which came after England and New Zealand competed in a Super Over after tying on runs, to the much lauded 2005 Ashes series, which saw Michael Vaughan lead England to their first victory in the series since 1987.

England celebrate winning the ICC World Cup at Lord’s (Nick Potts/PA)

“It’s incredibly hard to overestimate what Sunday did for the sport,” Butcher told PA.

“For the 22 players to put on a show like that was remarkable. Scenes in Trafalgar were reminiscent of 15 years ago when England won the Ashes in 2005. It was just great.”

Butcher, who also works as a cricket pundit, said the dramatic finale at the ICC World Cup would appeal to sports fans who had so far avoided cricket.

He added: “It’s huge. It’s almost impossible to measure.

“What might have happened had England won the World Cup in slightly less dramatic circumstances?

Former England batsman Mark Butcher (Rebecca Naden/PA)

“It would have had an effect, for sure, but to win it like that, in circumstances where even if you have no interest in cricket whatsoever, you couldn’t take your eyes off it, that is something that hopefully will pay dividends for the game for years to come.

“When people think of the game of cricket, not people who are fans, not people who are already converts but people who are pretty ambivalent about the game, they will think about that finish at Lord’s, as opposed to having stood in a field when they were younger shivering and not touching the ball.

“It will have done the game no end of good.”

Butcher retired from cricket in August 2009 following a knee injury but a year later released a blues-inspired album called Songs From The Sun House, much to the surprise of fans.

The singer and guitarist, who is about to announce a string of summer tour dates, said getting up on stage scared him more than the pressure of playing for his country.

He said: “The thing with the music for me is that I always have this terror that because people may or may not know me for doing something else, that they immediately expect me to be awful and the whole thing is going to be terrible.

“I carry that with me as I’m walking on to the stage. I feel scrutinised in a way I never would have done if I was walking out to bat.

“On those terms the nerves and anxiety before going on to perform are much stronger than they ever were when I was playing cricket.”

Mark Butcher’s second album, Now Playing, is out now.