Cricket: Botham is preparing to bow out

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The Independent Online
IAN BOTHAM has announced that he is likely to retire from first-class cricket at the end of the season. 'In all probability this will be my last season,' he said yesterday. 'I had the 10th operation of my career 10 weeks ago and I think my body is starting to tell me something.'

Botham, 37 and about to start the second season of a two-year contract with Durham, is determined, though, to add to his 102 Test matches by playing against the touring Australia this summer. 'I feel fine at the moment and if I can get off to a good start I hope to be given the chance to do well against the Australians,' he said.

Botham, who was troubled by a shoulder injury during last season, had an operation in January. 'I am seeing a specialist this week but I'm not expecting any problems,' he said. 'I will be playing in some of Durham's pre-season friendlies.'

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