IAN BOTHAM: England’s draw with New Zealand at Lord’s was SHAMEFUL and IPL players are overpaid


Ian Botham has never been one to pull any punches.  

Here, the England legend is brutally honest as he lays down his verdict on leaving Sky Sports, Twenty20 and England’s Test rotation policy among other things.

On the current Test team 

I think our batting is a big worry. Last month, England had a great opportunity at Lord’s when they were given the opportunity of a last-day run chase against New Zealand. 

People had been waiting for months and months to see live sport and to go out and bat like that in the final innings with no intent was appalling. I thought ‘you guys need to wake up a bit, you rely on the public’.

Their reason for why they didn’t do it was because Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes weren’t playing. Excuse me. That gives a chance for someone else to come through. I thought it was very weak. They got what they deserved in the end, to be quite frank. 

England were shameful in New Zealand draw and didn’t do anything to promote Test cricket

Performances like the one at Lord’s don’t do anything to promote Test cricket. Quite the contrary. It was one of the most p***poor performances I have ever seen from an England side. It would have offered so much to so many people who had been waiting for so long. 

You know what, I think the public would have much preferred England to have gone for it and got within 20 runs and if they win it or lose it from that point, whatever. 

Imagine the West Indies side of the 70s or 80s turning down a challenge like that or New Zealand now. I was pretty ashamed to be honest. I just don’t understand the logic.

England missed Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes but their batting display was very concerning

England missed Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes but their batting display was very concerning

Botham on rotating selection in the England Test team

I am not sure we are picking the right players. Rotation, I think, is the biggest load of b******s of all time. Absolute garbage. 

I tell you what, I would like to have seen someone say to me when I was playing “well done, but you’re having a rest next game”. Er no I’m not. Bowl, get fit and stay fit by bowling.

Botham on Sky

I don’t miss it. I did 23 years in that job, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I think I was probably at Sky at the best time. I am great believer in the fact that you have a shelf life and I certainly felt I had had that. 

I didn’t want another contract. I sat down with Barney Francis, the former managing director of Sky Sports, and said I didn’t intend to stay in this game. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed it, thank you very much, and I walked away, which was great because it is nice to go that way.

I enjoyed commentating for Sky Sports for 23 years but I felt it was my time to leave

I enjoyed commentating for Sky Sports for 23 years but I felt it was my time to leave

Botham on grandson and Wales rugby union international James

People say ‘oh, why’s he playing for Wales?’ It makes me laugh. He was born in Cardiff. That might have something to do with it.

Botham on legendary Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee

I enjoyed that rivalry. I thought he was one of the best quick bowlers I had ever seen. I went for dinner with him at his local restaurant in Perth once. 

He said he’d bring some wine down and he came in with a shopping trolley full of booze. I said “Jesus Christ, I hope you’ve got someone else coming”.

Dennis Lillee and I had an intense rivalry when we played but enjoyed a drink together off it

Dennis Lillee and I had an intense rivalry when we played but enjoyed a drink together off it

Botham on former England skipper Mike Brearley

When you first meet him, and he is sat there and you are sat here, he looks you straight in the eyes. He reminds me of Spock. It feels like he’s probing. Needless to say, he didn’t hang around in my head too long.

Botham on T20

Joel Garner would have been priceless in T20. You can’t hit 100mph yorkers. You can try. I’d like to see them play the ramp shot to him. I’m not a particular fan of it. 

The rewards are slim compared to the risk and the physical danger. Gooch would have been good in it. I’m not sure Geoffrey Boycott would have got a gig in it, though. We called him Fiery because he always stood up for himself. 

That’s why I like him. No bull****. There are a lot of players making a lot of money out of T20 who are not good enough to play Test cricket. That is a fact. 

I don’t object to anyone making a crust but if you are playing Test cricket, you should be getting more than for playing in the IPL in my opinion.

There are IPL players making a fortune when they're not even good enough to play Test cricket

There are IPL players making a fortune when they’re not even good enough to play Test cricket