Guernsey Press

Butler’s service as skipper at an end

Josh Butler has stepped down as Guernsey men’s captain with immediate effect.

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Josh Butler has stepped down as Guernsey men's captain after six years. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32386066)

The batter, who turns 27 later this month and took on the role, initially in the T20 format, shortly before his 21st birthday, informed the Island squad of his decision in writing a few days ago and he revealed yesterday that while there were various influences on his decision, it largely boiled down to tiredness that he is relinquishing the position which he called ‘an honour’ to hold.

‘It’s been six years which I’ve really enjoyed, but I have run my course. Everyone reaches a point where it is time to move on,’ Butler said.

‘I still enjoy the captaincy on the field, probably more than I thought I would when I took on the role, but it is more what you might call the “political” stuff which is also part of being captain, which includes trying to get the best team out on the park and looking after guys who have other commitments – just trying to juggle lots of things.

‘There’s not one stand-out thing that has brought about this decision, but this year I have not enjoyed it as much and I feel like I’m tired out.’

While admitting that no-one is to blame for how things have turned out during his tenure, which of course included the pandemic years, Butler admitted that working alongside half-a-dozen heads of cricket had caused certain frustrations.

‘Frithy [Jeremy Frith] is the sixth different one in my six years and when you are trying to build something year on year, having a different coach each year doesn’t make that easy.

‘I feel I’m at a stage where there were things I had wanted to put in place, but now I’m contradicting myself.

‘Some things have changed naturally and I think now is a good time for someone else to take it forward alongside Frithy.’

When asked for his personal highlight of his captaincy, Butler allowed himself a wry chuckle.

‘I would love to give you a big tournament win or a big inter-insular win, but we’ve haven’t done that,’ he said.

‘One thing that I will remember is the respect I have had from the guys while I’ve been captain.

‘Growing up I never thought about captaining Guernsey, but I realise the respect the position demands which goes both ways and, yes, I grew up with a lot of the players and they are all mates anyway, but I’ve enjoyed and am thankful for the respect they have shown me over the six years.’

Butler emphasised, though, that he intends to fight for his place in the Island squad for the foreseeable future.

‘For me it’s about taking a backward step and enjoying my cricket more again, as well as supporting the next captain.

‘I am still committed to playing, but I know I need to work hard to earn a place in the side.’

Frith has confirmed that Matt Stokes, who led Guernsey in the second game of the recent T20I Inter-Insular Series when Butler was taken ill, is taking over the captaincy in the interim and the selectors will take a long-term decision at the end of the season.

‘Josh has been brilliant since I came in,’ said Frith, Guernsey’s director of cricket.

‘He has been captain for six years and it has been challenging at different points, but he has basically been the one constant in Guernsey cricket that time.

‘I have had quite a few discussions with him, and I know Stu [Le Prevost, chairman of selectors] has too, and we have both made it clear that he has to make the best decision for his cricket.

‘I know he is still desperate to play and contribute to the team, which is a huge positive for us.’