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Whitstable Cricket Club’s John Butterworth selected in England squad for over-60s Cricket World Cup in India – where he could play alongside Nasser Hussain’s older brother Mel Hussain

Long-serving Whitstable all-rounder John Butterworth is preparing to represent his country at a World Cup - alongside the brother of a former England Test captain!

Butterworth has spoken of his delight at being named in England’s squad for the over-60s Senior World Cup in India.

Whitstable CC's John Butterworth – has been selected to represent his country at the over-60s Cricket World Cup
Whitstable CC's John Butterworth – has been selected to represent his country at the over-60s Cricket World Cup

The 61-year-old who had a busy 2023 summer, helping England beat Australia in the Grey Ashes and also playing a key role as Whitstable 3rds secured the Kent League Division 11 Shepherd title, said: “There was a bit of a wait from the end of the season.

“I had to wait a few weeks to hear but I’m very excited.

“I’ve always wanted to go to India so I’m pretty chuffed.

“I was actually with a friend on a plane, coming back from a holiday and the message pinged through as we landed.

“So I got quite animated about that on the plane! I think my enthusiasm was tangible.

“It’s great. I’m really excited and just chuffed to be involved at that level, albeit at an older age. It’s an incentive to keep going and to keep fit.

“I’ve already started preparing myself because, in the winter, we can hunker down and forget about our bodies a bit and eat much more.

“But I’m looking after myself. I’ve been running and there’s going to be some indoor cricket at Canterbury.”

Also in England’s team for the tournament which is set to take place from February 12 until March 5 is Mel Hussain - the older brother of Nasser Hussain - and Tunbridge Wells’ Simon Routh alongside Jim Phillips, who’s also from Kent.

The trip will be a significant one for Hussain, a batsman good enough to play for Hampshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire as a young cricketer, as the World Cup will be held in Chennai.

While Mel was born in South Shields, Nasser is Chennai-born and it was father Joe’s hometown.

Butterworth said: “That’s quite an exciting place to go for any cricket-loving person.

“I guess that will be a nice little thing for Mel to be able to go there.

“As a youngster, I was aspiring to be a cricketer myself but didn’t quite cut it at an early age. But a couple of the guys did. Mel Hussain played professional cricket.

“There’s, obviously, some good players in there and some new ones that have got into the squad. Some are from Durham and Yorkshire.

“There’s also another new guy that’s just got into the squad. He’s a wicketkeeper-batsman called Simon Routh and he’s still playing at Tunbridge Wells to a good level.”

Butterworth represented England’s over-60s in Barbados last winter, where he brushed shoulders with the likes of cricket royalty Sir Gordon Greenidge and Wes Hall.

Ahead of that trip, the team were coached by Kent-born former England coach Paul Farbrace and they are due to train at Loughborough again ahead of this tour.

Butterworth raised plenty of money for the Barbados tour and is also holding a fundraising exhibition at Bruce Williams’ studio on Whitstable’s High Street until Tuesday.

He said: “They’re really trying to get shirt sponsorship and money for the brochure.

“Also, I think the ECB eventually might look at it in a better light because it’s an example of older people playing sport to a high level.

“But it’s been a good time, generally, at Whitstable CC for people getting selected for international sides.

“Jaydn Denly, Joe Denly’s nephew, was selected for England under-19s to go to India for a Youth One-Day Series - he’s only 17.

“Then, there’s a couple of ladies at the club. Alexa Stonehouse has been selected for England at youth level and Darcey Carter has been selected for Scotland.

“So, there’s quite a bit going on this year for the younger ones, as well.”

As for Butterworth, who’s an artist and will turn 62 at the World Cup, he may be into his 60s but is loving his cricket now as much as he has ever done.

He earned the ‘Bert Roebuck’ gong at the Kent League end-of-season awards event for claiming figures of 7-4 against nine-man Folkestone 4ths for Whitstable – including his first hat-trick in about 30 years!

He said: “2022, I think that was my best-ever season with the bat. I think I got 1,200 runs and four hundreds - two for Kent and two for Whitstable.

“Also, I’m a slow bowler so there’s always things to learn. I just love it. This is all a bit of a bonus, carrying on and being half-decent at it.

“It also gives you an incentive to keep fit. I do quite a lot of yoga, which I tell the other guys about. I’m relatively mobile - well, I can still run anyway!

“So I usually get put in quite key fielding positions because of my mobility. But that all relies on being fit enough to physically do it.

“Generally, blokes aren’t that interested in yoga. But maybe it’ll become more prominent as time goes on and, at the moment, it’s just helping me keep going.”

England are due to begin their World Cup campaign against New Zealand on February 19 and take on Canada the following day.

Their third match against the USA comes on February 22 while they also have matches against Zimbabwe (February 23), South Africa (February 26) and a Rest of the World side (February 28).

To stay updated with Butterworth’s World Cup experience, or to provide sponsorship for the team, England over-60s Cricket can be found on social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and X.

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