News24

Botham backs Eng to stay top

2012-04-18 07:33

London - Ian Botham expects England, who take on the Proteas at home in July, to hold onto their world No 1 status for "quite a while now", provided they learn from the disappointments of their recent series with Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

England climbed to the top of the Test match rankings after whitewashing India 4-0 in England last year.

But no sooner had they reached the top of the International Cricket Council's standings, Andrew Strauss's side were beaten 3-0 by Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and fell behind in Sri Lanka before drawing a two-match series 1-1.

"England are a good team," former captain Botham, one of England's greatest all-rounders, said on Tuesday.

"I don't know what went wrong in the first part of the (northern hemisphere) winter. It was really weird, all of that.

"The bowlers were magnificent throughout and it has to be said the batsmen just didn't turn up.

"Why that is, I haven't got a clue - and I don't think they know.

"But they are still number one and I think they are going to stay at number one for quite a while now."

Botham added: "I think this winter is part of the learning curve. Sometimes you can go in at number one and get a little blasé.

"Suddenly you get bitten on the bum. In professional sport that's what happens.

"If you put your guard down, someone will bite you on the bum but I think England will come good again now.

"England have got a busy schedule with West Indies, South Africa, India, New Zealand on the horizon.

"There is a lot of cricket over the next three or four years that is going to be exciting but England will be up to it.

"A lot is being made of the challenge England will face with the spin in India next winter. I think we are all blowing that up too much.

"It's a bit of mind games and England are better than that. They won't worry too much about that."

Botham also backed Strauss to stay on as captain despite the left-handed opener suffering two poor series with the bat.

You are always going to get over-the-top stuff. You are always going to get that with certain elements of the media.

"It's like Kevin Pietersen. Two or three weeks ago some people wanted Kevin Pietersen out. What planet are these people on?

"Strauss is good enough to carry on for another couple of years. He deserves to."

Botham was speaking at the conclusion of the Birmingham-Clent Hills leg of his latest walk across Britain in aid of raising funds for leukaemia research.

The England hero has raised millions of pounds in an effort to combat leukaemia, a form of cancer, sice undertaking his first charity walk nearly 30 years ago and is in no mood to stop now.

"I'm 56 approaching 57. I want to do something in my 60th year so I've got plenty of time to work on that," he said.

"I am also doing something in Sri Lanka, another project which we are going to recce in November and hopefully undertake the following year."

England will take on No 2 ranked South Africa in a three-Test series in July, with the winner likely to claim the No 1 position on the ICC world Test rankings.

SAPA

Comments
  • Samir - 2012-04-18 08:23

    England still has a long way to go.....they should show more consistency atleast in the next 2-3 years, to be able to claim to be genuine no. 1 team.... thats what the Australians did when they ruled for about a decade recently....South Africa and Australia should be catching up as well !! India, I beleive is on a down slide because of too much emphasis on T20s and IPL matches (may be with the youngsters coming up, things would change?)...Sri Lanka again have to prove their worth outside sub-continent..

  • Dhirshan - 2012-04-18 08:24

    this guy is normally objective, which is rare for a english bloke, but he is dreaming. sa won there in 2008 with a weaker team than now. philander is gonna make the entire england top 6 his bunnies, not to mention dale and morne. smith has incredible stats in england. tahir made his name by taking stax of wickets in county cricket. Ab and hash may win the series all on their own. not forgetting JK. must i go on?

      Bob - 2012-04-18 08:46

      Dhirshan, must I go on ? yes of course mate, go on dreaming, the current English side are a stronger outfit than SA, their batting line up is stronger, their pace attack is similar in strength, and their spin bowler is in a different league to Tahir, so carry on dreaming, England are the top ranked side in the world for a good reason, they are currently the best test side in the world.

      Dhirshan - 2012-04-18 09:00

      i know you english bob but please be objective. better top 6? lets see stats from england's last 5 tests. 4 losses and 1 win with absolutley poor batting records-that says it all. the only thing i agree with is swann edges tahir yes. btw, england are no.1 by the skin of their teeth-2 weeks ago they were joint no.1 with us mate. smith to retire strauss like he did i with vaughan and nasser.

      JacquesClaassen - 2012-04-18 09:10

      @ Bob O' I think you are the one dreaming BOB! Stronger Batting Line Up; SA Numbers 1,2,9 World Top 10 Rankings, ENG Number 7 World Top 10 Rankings Similar Pace Attack; SA Numbers 1,6 (With 6 Climbing FAST) World Top 10 Rankings, ENG Numbers 3,9 World Top 10 Rankings So no Bob You are dreaming especially if you take that SA occupy 11th in both Batting and Bowling stats as well ENG are in big, big trouble!

      Bob - 2012-04-18 10:23

      I am sure I will be reading all the excuses in the upcoming series SA v England, poor umpire decisions is always No1, bad luck, England lucky etc etc, I promise you I will eat humble pie if I'm wrong, the question is will you.

      Bob - 2012-04-18 11:27

      Jacques, I hear what you are saying about the rankings, and no I'm not just dismissing rankings, however Cook, Trott, Bell, Pietersen and to a lesser extent Strauss based on his current form is a very strong batting lineup, Prior is a way better batsman than Boucher, Swann and Broad are almost classed as allrounders, Morgan if he is fit can be a match winner, so I will stick with my opinion England have the strongest batting lineup in world cricket.

      Gerald - 2012-04-18 12:38

      Listen guys, we mustn't count our chickens before they hatch as the saying goes. Nobody wants us to beat the poms more than I do, but England are a good side especially when they play at home so don't think because of our success in NZ, we will now just turn up and walk all over England. This tour is bound to be a lot tougher than some people think

      Priyal - 2012-04-18 12:48

      Remember Nasser Hussain's resignation followed by Michael Vaughan's tearful departure five years later at the hands of South Africa. Oh, that was beautiful :) Can't wait for this series.

      Frik - 2012-04-19 13:21

      @Bob , let me just add that almost a third of your team were born in SA. You can't boast with south africans in your team, take strauss, peterson, trott and Matt prior out and your team would be bottom of the food chain. They should actually make a rule that in internationals and worldcups 9 of your 11 starting lineup should be born in the country they play for otherwise we can change it to club world cup cricket or premier league world cup. SA is gonna sweep the floors with the poms even if their team is fortified with SA players because at least there is still a lot of weak pom links in the team.

  • Sean - 2012-04-18 09:03

    And then when one says that English people like this Botham idiot is not arrogant?Pathetic!You win 1 test out of 5 against midtable opposition and the ICC keeps you at number one. What the hell are you,the ECB w***kers, paying the ICC?You so obsessed with this number one ranking thing,its ****ing ridiculous. You no longer an Empire,so the next best thing for you is to gloat when you do something in sport. Could there be another nation that's worst than England when it comes to talking themselves up like England does? I can only hope to see you wet and soil yourselves when taking on South Africa this summer you morons!

      Bob - 2012-04-18 10:26

      Not arrogant Sean, just a little more knowledge about the game than anyone on here, as for talking themselves up, have a look in the mirror.

      Bob - 2012-04-18 11:30

      And Sean, Pakistan and Sri Lanka on dry dusty pitches with the ball turning and bouncing are not mid table opposition.

      Stephen - 2012-04-18 13:00

      @Bob the Soap Dodger, oh please what knowledge have you got nothing. You are calling batsmen allrounders who cant even bat. You accuse Protea supporters of using excuses, meanwhile you were whining like only a Pom can about the pitches this very article. Hypocrite

      Bob - 2012-04-18 13:24

      Stephen, pull your angry head in, re the pitches read it again, I was merely stating a fact not whining, you saying Broad and Swann can't bat, obviously you don't follow the game, I'll stick with the opinion of one of the greatest allrounders the game has ever seen rather than err Stephen.

  • Ben - 2012-04-18 09:38

    Dream on Botham

  • Thee - 2012-04-19 00:22

    I honestly can't wait for the Proteas to get to England and shut these Brits up!

  • Jacques - 2012-04-19 11:02

    I like the idea of Smith finishing Strauss like he did with Nasser Hossain and Micheal Vaughn. The only aspect of the English side which is anywhere near us is the spin department, there I'll gladly admit Swann beats Tahir quite easily. But our batting edges them by a nose and if you think Broad, Finn and Bresnan (Tremlett as well?) are in the same league as Steyn, Phillander, and Morkel you are dreaming. The only SA seamer not beating them would probably be De Lange, and that's only down to experience. Greame Smith: Captainslayer of England!

  • Songezo - 2012-04-19 17:01

    Ths guy had a batting avg of 33, n a bowling avg of 28.82. He is so overated, i rate pollock highly thn ths clown, batting avg 32, bowling avg 23, n ppl thnk he's better than kallis? Wt a joke.

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