Ian Botham at 65: ‘I was happy to play the buffoon. But I listened more than I let on’

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The great all-rounder and crossbench peer chats with his former Somerset and England teammate Vic Marks about Covid-19, Headingley ‘81, Viv Richards, Ben Stokes … and just a little bit of Brexit

We almost met 50 years ago. I was in Liverpool about to open the batting for an England Public Schools Under-15s XI against the England Schools Cricket Association. Ian Botham had been there for almost a week playing for the West in a quadrangular tournament, after which the best XI from the four regions would take on the public schools’ side. Ian, who had performed well by all accounts, was not selected for that XI but he was invited to stay on as their 13th man, an invitation he furiously declined before catching the next train to Yeovil.

Before long we had both joined the Somerset staff in April 1974 and for over four decades in our contrasting ways we have stayed in touch with the game. Now, to the consternation of some, he has been elevated to the House of Lords but over the years I’ve learned not to be surprised by what happens to Ian. On Tuesday Lord Botham of Ravensworth is 65, often a time for reflection, and I spoke to him a few days ago.

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Written by Vic Marks
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/nov/24/ian-botham-covid-19-brexit-headingley-vic-marks under the title “

Ian Botham at 65: ‘I was happy to play the buffoon. But I listened more than I let on’

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