Roland Orlando Butcher (born 14 October 1953, Saint Philip, Barbados) is a former cricket player and coach, who played for England in three Test matches and three One Day Internationals from 1980 to 1981. He is recognised as being the first black cricketer to represent England. His brief international career was somewhat overshadowed by the death of Ken Barrington, and the ‘Jackman affair‘.
A cousin of Basil, Roland Butcher had come to the United Kingdom at the age of thirteen from his native Barbados. He was an aggressive middle-order batsman, who represented Middlesex between 1974 and 1990. His intuitive batting style owed much to the archetypical West Indian calypso flair. He “secured his place in history when he became the first black player to represent England, making his Test debut at Bridgetown in 1980-81”.
Butcher came to prominence during Middlesex’s successes in 1980 when they won the County Championship and the Gillette Cup, impressing with a rapid half-century in the final of the latter. He had actually made his England debut two weeks later, impressing with another half-century on his one-day international debut against Australia. He struggled more however on the 1980-1 tour against the West Indies who had the most powerful bowling line-up in the world at the time and did not play for England again.
In 1983, “he suffered a sickening injury which threatened his eyesight when struck by George Ferris“, but managed to recuperate and return to the sport. He continued to enjoy success with Middlesex, winning the County Championship again in 1982 and 1985, and featuring in victories in the finals of the NatWest Trophy in 1984 and 1988 and the Benson and Hedges Cup in 1983. In 1987 he won the Walter Lawrence Trophy for recording the fastest century of the season (in terms of balls faced) against Sussex