The Ashes: Sir Ian Botham left embarrassed by England team's decline

 

A select few England cricketers know what it is like to win a Test match in Perth. They number 11 to be exact since it has happened only once. It should come as no surprise to know that Sir Ian Botham is among them.

He was part of an unlikely combination, led by Mike Brearley, who defeated Australia by 166 runs at The Waca 35 years ago. With Ashes Tests beginning there in 1970, there was nothing for England before and nothing since and even Botham never featured in a winning team on three subsequent visits.

"You always have a prayer," he said. "But it's called last-chance saloon, lose in Perth, lose the Ashes. It's a good place to play, a great pitch to play cricket on."

He has been flummoxed, like almost all the travelling caravan, by the tourists' exhibitions so far. Playing to the audience, something he still does with elan after all these years, Botham predicted a 5-0 victory for England (and back in the summer said it was possible they could win all 10 Tests across two series). He never really expected that or this.

"I'm very disappointed," he said. "I always give it the bravado, 5-0, 5-0. In truth I was expecting a much tighter contest but at the moment we have had no contest. I am very surprised. I have no idea why and if I could put my finger on it the whole of the management team would be out of a job. But I don't know."

Botham is here in his long-term capacity as Sky commentator and despite a hospital visit which created immediate waves at the weekend is looking as fresh as a daisy after his latest charity walk in Sri Lanka just before the tour began. He covered 160 miles in eight days, chickenfeed for a veteran of so many walks but there was a hitch.

"It was tough," he said. "The distance wasn't a problem, 160 miles in eight days, but when you're doing it in 50 degrees centigrade and in 98 per cent humidity it knocks the hell out of you."

The walk raised £250,000 and counting for the village that Botham is helping to create south of Jaffna as part of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation project. The hell has been further knocked out of him since by England.

"Basically, in some ways I would rather be back on the walk," he said. "I find it quite embarrassing to be honest. I am very disappointed with the way the team has performed, under-performed I should say. I think electric shock treatment is probably needed here."

Sir Ian Botham's walk and the training for it were helped by Revitive IX, a drug-free medical device designed to increase leg circulation which is available in chemists

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss