Botham finds himself on a sticky wicket

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Former England cricket captain Ian Botham yesterday hit back at his former solicitors after they served a writ on him for allegedly not paying them pounds 100,000 in fees.

The firm, Swepstone Walsh, has demanded the payment in full of legal bills relating to Botham's ill-fated libel action against former Pakistan cricket captain, Imran Khan.

But Botham countered in a statement released by his new solicitors, Meer, Care & Desai, saying he was "extremely surprised and hurt at this totally unjustified course of action". The statement continued: "Ian Botham has today been served with a writ by his former solicitors, Swepstone and Walsh, alleging non-payment of their fees.

"Mr Botham has already paid a substantial sum on account of their fees. He has, on professional advice, made no further payment until the receipt of a detailed and itemised bill.

"The matter has been placed in the hands of new solicitors acting for Mr Botham."

Botham and former England colleague Allan Lamb sued Imran for libel in the High Court last year, but lost the case.