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Ian Botham (Getty Images)

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Cardiff - Ian Botham may not appreciate the comparison but there was no doubt Jos Buttler was paying him a compliment when he said listening to the England hero's tales of Ashes past was "like story time with your granddad".

Botham, one of England's greatest all-rounders, reserved many of his best performances for 'old enemy' Australia.

And such was his impact on the 1981 series it was labelled 'Botham's Ashes' after several stunning individual displays with both bat and ball helped turn the series in England's favour.

Botham was invited to give the current England squad a pep talk ahead of the first Test against Australia in Cardiff starting on Wednesday and Buttler lapped up every word.

"It was great," said England wicketkeeper/batsman Buttler. "It was like story time with your granddad, really."

Buttler, who at the age of 24 is not quite two generations removed from the 59-year-old Botham, added: "'Beefy' - everyone sat around listening to stories of the rockstar life he led.

"It was quite different the way he went about it as to our how our preparation has been."

It seems the most pertinent piece of advice that Botham, who relished the big occasion, passed on was to enjoy all the hype that surrounds the Ashes without letting it affect your own game.

"He said you have to understand that is how it is - but the cricket doesn't change," Buttler explained. "You have to enjoy it, and embrace the Ashes."

With England bidding to recover the Ashes after a 5-0 thrashing in Australia in 2013/14, the scale of the task ahead has enthused Buttler.

"You always dream of playing in this series that is always talked about," he said.

"It's going to be a huge challenge for me personally and the team - but it's something you want to be a part of, to test yourselves in these situations."

But even if this season ends up being 'Buttler's Ashes', the kind of exploits that Botham used to enjoy mid-Test won't be an option for the present-day England team, given that rest days have long since been abolished.

"His (Botham's) favourite stories seem to involve rest days in Tests ... they seemed to be the best invention ever," said Buttler.

Read more on:    ashes  |  ian botham  |  cricket

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