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EDWIN SEERAJJoseph Stanislaus Solomon and Basil Fitzherbert Butcher played with aplomb for Berbice, Guyana,and the West Indies during the 1950s and 1960s,at a time when the regional team was establishing itself as one of the top outfits in the business.Joe SolomonNot only did the West Indies produce numerous high-quality players during this era,but the flair with which they engaged the opposition, whether at home or abroad, was greatly admired to the extent that they were invited to tour more frequently than would have been the norm.In the early years,there were the great George Headley, Clifford Roach, Leary Constantine, Manny Martindale,and Herman Griffith,followed by the legendary Frank Worrell, Clyde Walcott, Everton Weekes, Alan Rae, Jeff Stollmeyer,Alf Valentine,and Sonny Ramadin,who won so convincingly against England in 1950.Solomon and Butcher took up the mantle in the latter half of the 1950s and continued the great work started by their predecessors,as they etched their names forever in the annals of West Indies and world cricket.Basil ButcherSolomon was born on August 26, 1930 on Plantation Port Mourant, Corentyne, Berbice,and in time he turned out for the Port Mourant Cricket Club, Everest Cricket Club,and East Bank Demerara.He was a consistent right-handed middle-order batsman and gentle medium-pacer,who eventually contested 27 Test matches between 1958 and 1965; scoring one century in his first series against India in New Delhi,during which he topped the batting averages.He was a dominant figure on the local scene,(and) an integral part of a formidable batting lineup that included run-machines (like) Walcott, Butcher, Rohan Kanhai, Bruce Pairaudeau and Glendon Gibbs.When England toured the Caribbean in 1960, the selectors tried to convert him into an opening batsman, but with little success. He then went on the historic tour to Australia in 1960-61,under Frank Worrell,where he reverted to the middle order.It was Solomon who hit the stumps with a direct hit in the first Test against Australia in Brisbane,to run out Ian Meckiff by a whisker,to gain the first Tied-Test in cricket’s history. Earlier,he had run out Allan Davidson for 80 at a time when the Aussies were in firm control.Throughout his Test career, Solomon played in the shadows of strokemakers Kanhai, Butcher, Gary Sobers,and company and was rather subdued and dogged in his play. However, whenever he represented Berbice or Guyana, he was more flambouyant and displayed his full range of shots.In fact,his highest firs-class score was a splendid, unbeaten 201 for Guyana against the visiting Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) side at the Blairmont Community Centre ground in 1960.His slow-medium bowling,combined with a few leg-spinning deliveries,were good enough to garner 51 first-class wickets, including four of them in Tests.He ended his seven-year, 27-Test career with 1326 runs at the respectable average of 34 runs per innings,and 5,318 first-class runs in 104 matches at 41.54,inclusive of 12 hundreds.Solomon later served as Chairman of Guyana’s senior selection panel,and West Indies Test selector, and worked with the Guyana Sugar Corporation in its sports department for several years.Like Solomon, Butcher,who first saw the light of day on September 03, 1933,did so at Port Mourant and slowly wended his way into the club team;catching the eyes of Walcott, who had located here from Barbados,and was working as a coach on the sugar estates.He was a middle order batsman and part-time leg-spinner who represented the West Indies in 44 Test matches between 1958 and 1969.He was part of a strong batting line-up which contained the likes of Worrell, Sobers, Kanhai and Conrad Hunte;and many cricketing pundits are of the view that he deserved more recognition for the role he played in the West Indies middle order.Butcher made his debut on the Indian tour in 1958-59 and played in all five Tests;distinguishing himself by recording consecutive centuries, at Calcutta and Madras,and averaged 69.42 in the series.For some unexplained reason, he was only selected for two games out of five against the English in the Caribbean in 1960,and when he did not find favour with the selectors for the memorable tour to Australia in 1960-61, he became disillusioned and wanted to give up the game.Among his most notable exploits on the field is his second innings 133 out of 229 in the Lord’s Test of 1963,which earned the West Indies a hard-fought draw. He struck 17 fours and two sixes in an excellent exhibition of strokeplay in difficult circumstances that saw the next best score being Worrell’s 33.At Trent Bridge in 1966,he came in with West Indies 65 for 2 in their second innings and still behind England’s first innings score by 25 runs. When the innings closed at 482 for 5 declared, Butcher had registered his highest Test score (209 not out),and in the process set up a huge West Indies victory by 139 runs.In the fourth Test against England in Port-of-Spain in 1968,he took five wickets for 34 runs with his leg-spinners,inducing his captain, Sobers, to declare his second innings early in the hope that he (Butcher) would have weaved his magic second time around.However, this was not to be as he bowled only five overs for seventeen runs without any success.Butcher carved an excellent Test record of 44 matches,in which he totalled 3104 runs at a healthy average of 43.11,with seven centuries. At the first-class level, he was involved in 169 games, registered 11,628 runs at 49.90 runs per innings,and compiled 31 hundreds.At the end of his international career, he continued playing for Guyana at the regional level for another couple of years,with a fair degree of success.For many years he lived in Linden,where he advised and coached youngsters on the fundamentals of the game.The cricketing fraternity applauds you two gentlemen. Go for the century!