Butler announced his arrival on the international cricket scene as a 20 year old tearaway quick during England’s 2002 tour of New Zealand. 4-60 in his debut Test Match series and 6-46 against Pakistan the following season demonstrated Butler’s explosive ability with ball in hand.
Unfortunately for Butler and New Zealand Cricket injury was a constant frustration. By the mid 2000’s it was a career that looked to be winding down with back injuries making bowling almost impossible. Butler had reinvented himself as a batting all-rounder who played the occasional short form game for Northern Districts.
However, hard work off the field led to an improvement in the condition of Butler’s back. Butler transferred to Otago for the 2008/09 season looking for a fresh start and it is fair to say made every post a winner. Butler was a regular and consistently strong performer taking over 50 wickets in each of the three formats, including 87 in First Class Cricket during his time in Dunedin. His hard hitting middle order batting was also a huge asset, helping the Volts to two Twenty20 titles and subsequent trips to the Champions League.
Butler’s efforts in Otago were rewarded with reselection for New Zealand in all three forms of the game. Given the challenges that Butler had faced this is not an achievement that should be understated.
Butler said “It is time to accept that the body has had enough. Sad but exciting times, hopefully the next chapter in life will be more family, friends and partner friendly. I have absolutely loved my time in Otago, it is a great bunch of guys and an awesome culture throughout the organisation. I really appreciate everything Otago has done for me since coming down. I am sure the lads will have many successes in future and I will always be watching.”
Otago Cricket CEO Ross Dykes added, “Ian has given fantastic service to us since coming down here in 2008. At that point his international career was seemingly over, but the way he dealt with his debilitating injuries and his exacting preparation saw him re-invent himself as a quality all-rounder and become a “go to” bowler for both the Volts and the BLACKCAPS. His ability to “finish” games with both bat and ball set him apart as a sought after specialist in the short forms of the game.
He was a quality cricketer and is a quality individual whose strong values and exacting standards will add much to whatever he does in the future. We wish him every success in life after cricket and thank him for an outstanding contribution to the recent successes of the Volts.”