Sir Ian Botham Answers Your Questions
Byline: Ian Botham
Sir Ian Botham answers your questions IN ASSOCIATION WITH
Q: Knowing your wonderful connections to Cardiff, what do you think of certain people's criticism of the first Test being held here?
V. HAMPTON A: Cardiff is a wonderful city, where I've spent many enjoyable times as a player, watching my son Liam play rugby or on one of my charity walks, and I have no arguments with the people, who are as hospitable as they come. My only gripe is with the administrators who have yet to explain properly how they came to award an Ashes Test to Cardiff while Old Trafford, Trent Bridge, the Riverside and the Rose Bowl all missed out.
Q: What do you think Monty Panesar's chances of playing in the first Test are?
NICK WILSON A: Better than average, Nick! Everything I've heard suggests England are planning to play two spinners in Cardiff, and although Monty hasn't taken a stack of wickets this season I suspect he will edge out Adil Rashid in the race to play alongside Graeme Swann.
Q: Ian, who was the most tactically astute Australian captain you ever faced? MARTIN LING A: As well as being one of the most obdurate batsmen I had to bowl at in Ashes series, Allan Border was a formidable captain. None of the success the Aussies have enjoyed over the past 15 years would have been possible without AB hauling them up by their bootstraps when they were at a low ebb in the 1980s. Border knew what made his players tick and got the best out of them.
FORMIDABLE Border got from his
Q: What is your opinion on the Riverside missing out on hosting an Ashes Test?
ANDY JONES A: Unprintable! Seriously, though, Durham always seem to get the so-called warm-up acts like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and never the big draws like India and Australia when Tests are allocated. Maybe I'm biased because I finished my playing career at the Riverside, but if there's a pecking order for staging internationals then I can't work it out any more.
Q: Do you think this series can match up to 2005?
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TERRY PLUMLEY A: They say that unforgettable series only come round once in a generation, but the teams look so evenly-matched on paper that this Ashes could be just as exciting. It could be settled by one outstanding innings or one inspired spell of bowling.
Q: Why is the best English batsman in county cricket for the last two years, Mark Ramprakash, not in the England squad? …