Former English cricketer Ian Botham has etched his name as one of the greatest all-rounders of all time. Alongside the likes of Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, and Richard Hadlee, Botham was part of the quartet of the most elite cricketers during his time. In an online chat session with the Playwrite foundation, Ian Botham discussed an eclectic range of topics.
Botham was best known for his performances in the 1981 Ashes series. The series is popularly known as Botham’s Ashes due to his superlative performances with both the bat and ball. The all-rounder took 34 wickets alongside scoring 399 runs as England won the rubber by a scoreline of 3-1. Ian Botham’s best score of 149* in that series came in the third Test in Headingley when Australia enforced the follow on. The hosts went on to win the game by 18 runs.
The cricketer-turned commentator spoke on how fans of that era were richly spoilt due to the remarkable quality of all-rounders. Amid that, he sprinkled words of appreciation for the current Indian captain Virat Kohli and went on to say he would have cherished playing against him. Botham hailed Kohli saying he challenges the opposition the best possible way and is the correct man to take Indian cricket forward.
“Virat Kohli takes the game to the opposition, he takes a stand for his players. I would have loved to play against him. He is the right guy to take Indian cricket forward.” the Cheshire born said as quoted by Times of India.
He is the closest version of me: Ian Botham on Ben Stokes
Since Ben Stokes’ heroics in the 2019 Headingley Test against Australia, several experts have drawn comparisons with the likes of Andrew Flintoff and Ian Botham. All three all-rounders have produced some remarkable performances against Australia. Flintoff disturbed the likes of Ricky Ponting, Justin Langer, and Adam Gilchrist with the ball amid the Englishmen regaining the Ashes in 2005 before ending his career in 2009, making his side snatching the urn again.
When asked to pick a better all-rounder amongst Stokes and Flintoff, the 64-year old opined that the former is better than a mile. Botham admitted he is the best cricketer in the world right now and that Ben Stokes reminded me of himself, playing by wearing his heart on his sleeve.
“Ben Stokes is better than a mile to Freddy. Ben Stokes is the closest version of me, he plays like me with his heart on his sleeve. Flintoff was good but Stokes is just exceptional. He is the best cricketer in the world right now.” Botham stated.