You ask the questions: Ian Botham

(Such as: Ian Botham, are you walking the London Marathon because you are not fit enough to run it?)
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The Independent Culture
Ian Botham was born in 1955 in Heswall, Cheshire. He made his Test debut in 1977 and is famous for his match-winning performances in the 1981 Ashes series. He captained England in 1980. This autumn he will walk from John O'Groats to Land's End to raise money for the Leukaemia Research Fund (0171- 405 0101 for donations). As preparation he will speed- walk the London Marathon on Sunday.

Who do you think is currently the world's best all-rounder?

David Hasell, Thames Ditton

There aren't many good all-rounders nowadays, but I think Steve Waugh is probably the best in the world. He is bowling again after injury, and he is definitely the world's number one with the bat. Sean Pollock also has the potential to be the world's best all-rounder. His cricket gets better week by week.

Do you think that the introduction of two leagues in county cricket will produce better results at international level?

Susan Nicholls, Birmingham

I certainly do. And I think it is something that's long overdue if we are to improve our game. It should have happened 12 years ago.

Lennox Lewis described you as one of his sporting heroes. Who is your greatest hero, and why?

Patrick Lark, London SE11

Jack Nicklaus. To achieve what he has done is amazing. He is the greatest golfer of all time.

Please recommend a red wine under pounds 20.

K Quinn, Kingston upon Thames

A Geoff Merril cabernet from Australia, or a Spanish rioja.

I find cricket a very boring game to watch. How would you convert me so that I found it more fun?

Sarah Tasker, Chatham

I would try to educate you in the rules of the game. Most people who don't enjoy cricket don't understand how it is played.

Do you think your son, Liam, chose to play rugby as he couldn't compete with you in cricket?

Mrs Alison Wilson, Reading

It's not a question of whether Liam can compete with me or not. He would not have been given the chance by the British media to succeed in cricket, as he would always have been compared to me. It has happened to lots of other sporting fathers and their sons. I am glad he has chosen to play rugby and he is doing very well at it.

What do you think are your best and your worst characteristics?

Ian Littler, Watford

I don't suffer fools very well. I'm basically intolerant. But I think that I can be very generous, which is probably my best characteristic.

You once said something to the effect that cricket saved you from a life of crime. Do you still feel that this was the case? If so, what would your crime have been?

KM Thomson, Basingstoke

I think it was probably a figure of speech and not meant seriously. I don't think I would have turned to crime had I not played cricket. I would have played football instead.

Do you ever deliberately go out of your way to irritate people?

Nicola Yates, Coventry

Yes I do, if I think they deserve it.

Now Bob Woolmer's contract with South Africa is up, do you think he is the man to replace David Lloyd as England manager?

Susan Nicholls, Birmingham

Absolutely. He's the first person I would approach.

What would you do if you found that your son was living up to your reputation when you were young?

Harry Faulder, Ipswich

I'd say he was having a great time.

Who was the best you played against in your Test career?

K Quinn, Kingston-upon-Thames

Viv Richards. He's arguably the best player that ever lived.

Why have you chosen to support the Leukaemia Research Fund?

Zoe Stephens, Weymouth

My involvement began about 15 years ago, when I was visiting children in a hospital in Taunton. Some of the children only had a short time to live. Nothing quite prepares you for sitting down with a child you know is going to die. It makes you think of your own children and how you might cope with such a devastating loss. There is a feeling of utter helplessness. But then I realised there was something I could do: I could raise money for research.

What was your wife's reaction to your book, Don't Tell Cath. Do you have many secrets from her?

Caroline Morris, Wiltshire

It was Cath's idea to write the book. We don't have any secrets from each other. I asked her to proof-read my book, chapter by chapter.

Do you see Phil Tufnell as the bad boy of cricket nowadays?

Jeffrey Duckett, Derby

I think Tufnell is a talent that has not been fulfilled to potential. I think it was a major mistake not taking him to Australia this winter. He's the best left-arm spinner in the country.

Are you walking the London Marathon because you are not fit enough to run it?

Bob Threader, Norwich

If you would like to join me to walk for five hours at five miles an hour you are very welcome.

What job would you ideally like to have in the English cricket establishment?

That's a hypothetical question as I have a long-term contract with Sky TV. I would like to get more involved with selection of teams, though.