Beefs Cross Boundary as Old Scores Rehashed; the Botham Report by Ian Botham with Peter Hayter (CollinsWillow, Pounds 16.99)

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Ask anyone who does not follow the sport to name a cricketer and it's odds on that they will come up with Ian Botham.

The former England player strode the game like a colossus for almost two decades.

Four years after his retirement from the first-class game, he is still probably the most famous cricketer, certainly on these shores.

So, any book entitled The Botham Report is certain to command attention. Asking the question on the front cover: ''What is wrong with English cricket - and how I intend to put it right'' demands perusal. Unfortunately, what overshadows his honest critique is a bitter man with many grudges.

The first 13 chapters, subtitled Ten Years of Hurt, reflects England's decline from the last Ashes success in 1987 to the humiliation of losing three successive one-day games against Zimbabwe, the newest Test-playing nation.

Festering like an open sore is Botham's battle with the establishment which he refers to at every oportunity, not always constructively.

Part two, pointedly subtitled Ashes to Ashes, continues his almost morbid review of this season's Test series defeat by Australia, followed by 60 pages on how not to run English cricket before the Botham Blueprint is congested into 35 pages at the end of the book.

Geoffrey Boycott, whom Botham describes as ''without doubt, one of the most selfish and disruptive influences inside an England dressing room it has been my misfortune to suffer',' comes under attack.

But public enemy number one is Raymond Illingworth, who gets 25 references in the index with conflict, criticism, opposition and resignation the recurring themes. …