Ian Botham made England a team to reckon with. Without him, England were terrible. The quickest player to 1000 runs and 100 wickets, what was impressive about Botham was his self-belief. Botham had high highs and low lows. It took him just four years to become England captain, with everyone understanding he was the finest cricket the country had seen in aeons. But such was the nature of the man that he soon quit as captain as he was about to be sacked. He soon turned some poor form around and almost singlehandedly brought England the Ashes. Support for English cricket had never been as high as when Botham was part of the mix but soon he started to have weight problems and the nuggets of brilliant performances began to be few and far between. Still, Botham would command a place in the England setup until 1992 before he eventually retired with a batting average of 33. 54, 5,200 runs under his belt along with 14 centuries and 22 half-centuries. As a bowler he is part of the 300-wicket Test club, ending his career with 383 from just 102 Tests. He once took 8-34 in a Test match and has career-best match figures of 13-106 which are up there with the greats.  

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Ian Terence Botham

Born: November 24, 1955, Oldfield, Heswall, Cheshire

Major teams: England, Durham, Queensland, Somerset, Worcestershire

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast-medium

Height: 6 ft 2 in

 

Test Career (Batting): England (1977-1992)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave      BF       SR      100s    50s             

102     161      6       5200     208    33.54    8565    60.71     14     22             

 

Test Career (Bowling): England (1977-1992)

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs     Wkts    BBI      BBM      Ave     Econ   SR     4w    5w   10w

102     168     21815    10878     383      8/34    13/106   28.40   2.99    56.9    17     27     4

 

Career Highlights

  • 2nd fastest player to 3000 runs and 200 wickets (55 Tests)
  • 1st player to score a century and take 10 wickets in a Test
  • Record for most centuries and 5-wicket hauls in the same Test (4)
  • Scored 5200 runs at 33.54
  • Secured 383 wickets at 28.40

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will take up to four weeks to make a decision over whether the tour of England will go ahead.

Pakistan are due to start a three-match Test series against England at Lord's on July 30, with three Twenty20 Internationals also on the schedule.

Yet there are doubts over whether the tour will be staged due to the coronavirus crisis, with spectators highly unlikely to be allowed into venues if matches can go ahead.

PCB chiefs and the counterparts at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will hold talks on Friday.

Wasim Khan, the chief executive of the PCB, says there will be no rush to make such a big decision, with Pakistan's trip to the Netherlands already having been postponed.

He told reporters: "Health and safety is paramount for our players and officials and we are not going to compromise on it.

"The situation in England is poor right now, and we will ask them about their plans. We are not making any decisions, but we will assess and decide in the next three to four weeks.

"This isn't an easy situation, and it isn't an easy decision to make, because things are changing every day in England. There are so many things to be considered - flights, hotels and they are talking about bio-security stadiums… so if people ask me, I will tell them to wait and be patient.

"The longer they stay there, the more our players will be exposed. So there is speculation that the tour might be extended, but I can confirm that this is presently not on the table.

"The West Indies tour to England is also uncertain, and we don't know what to expect. So we are looking forward to the May 15 meeting and will see what are the options."

Khan stressed that will not be influenced by whether England are prepared to make a long-awaited return for a tour of Pakistan when they make their decision.

He added: "It's a tough situation for everyone right now, and I don't think it's fair to take advantage of the situation.

"The most important thing for us is to revive the game for all countries. If we don't, we will be facing a lot of problems going forward.

"The next 12 months will be tough for cricket financially. Thankfully, the PCB is fine for the next 12 months but thereafter, in 18 months' time, we will also have problems.

"Hopefully, by then, cricket will resume and I don't think we are going to take our discussion with the ECB [with a tour of Pakistan a big factor], but we will definitely talk about it when we tour them.

"Look, the MCC toured Pakistan, an Australia delegation came as well, so there is no reason why England and Australia shouldn't be here in 2021 and 2022."

England defence coach John Mitchell expects Saracens duo Maro Itoje and Mako Vunipola to make "good decisions" over their futures.

Itoje has been linked with a loan move to Racing 92 and there are no certainties over which club his England team-mate Vunipola will play for next season after Sarries were relegated from the Premiership for breaching salary-cap regulations.

England head coach Eddie Jones is unable to select players based overseas, but Mitchell is confident Itoje and Vunipola will still be available for selection.

The New Zealander said: "I'm sure Eddie, as he is very good at, is guiding them and helping them and they have probably sought his advice.

"They've got family and friends and people within Saracens who they trust. 

"I'm quite confident that they will make good decisions, that are right for them and their families and also that are right in terms of playing Test rugby for England because they are two guys who love playing for England."

Mitchell knows the coaching staff and players must be ready to adapt their methods when rugby union returns after being suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The RFU and our medics are working very closely with the government and it’s important I leave it with them," he added.

"No one knows what the pecking order will be. I guess it's just sensible that non-contact sports will be the creators of the start, I guess, and we'll learn from what we experience and what they go through. When we eventually get the green button then we as a coaching group will need to be ready.

"We're going to have to be creative and innovative around how we do things. A lot of our players are going to be better for this as well because they've had to find a way to train with home constraints.

"We are going to have to find different ways to train based on the distancing."

Geoffrey Boycott made his international team debut on 4th June 1964 against Australia. He was the first cricketer from England to cross 8,000 runs. He debuted in the One Day International for the England team on 5th January 1971 again against Australia. Boycott took a break from cricket in the years 1974 to 1977 as he lost interest in the game. He returned to the game in 1977 and clinched a century in his comeback match.

Career Statistics 

Full Name: Geoffrey Boycott 

Born: 21 October 1940 (age 79)

Place of birth: Fitzwilliam, West Riding of Yorkshire, England

Major teams: England, Northern Transvaal, Yorkshire

Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)

Batting Style: Right-handed

Bowling: Right-arm medium

Role: Opening batsman

 

Test Career - England (1964-1982)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS         Ave      100s    50s   

108      193     23     8114       246*     47.72       22      42

 

Career Highlights

  • Wisden, a Cricketer of the Year in 1965, when he played nine Test matches, scoring 617 runs with one century and four fifties at an average of 47.46.
  • Winner of the Walter Lawrence Trophy in 1970.
  • Scored 8091 runs at an average of 48.16 as a Test opener
  • Scored all 22 of his centuries as an opening batsman
  • Fastest English cricketer to reach 1000 Test runs
  • Holds the record for scoring the most number of test runs as captain (8659)

Jack Hobbs ushered in the likes of Sir Len Hutton, making the position of opening about consistency. When you look at Hobbs’ first-class career, he quickly rises to the level of most prolific batsman of all time. Combined with his achievements at the Test level, Hobbs has scored 199 centuries and 273 half-centuries in a career that, as was the case with Sir Len, was cut short by the six years that World War II had an impact on sports. Known as ‘The Master’, Hobbs’ technique was so good that he was able to play long after most others would have had to give up because of diminishing hand-eye coordination. In 1928, Hobbs scored a Test century. He was 46 and to this day, the oldest man to ever do so. He was the first professional cricketer to be knighted.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: John Berry Hobbs

Date of Birth: December 16, 1882

Place of Birth: Cambridge

Died: December 21, 1963, Hove, Sussex (aged 81 years 5 days)

Major teams: England, Maharaj Kumar of Vizianagram's XI, Surrey

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium

Batting Averages

Team: England (1908-1930)

           Mat    Inns    NO   Runs    HS     Ave    100    50             

Tests   61     102       7     5410     211    56.94     15     28             

 

Achievements

  • Average of 56.37 as an opening batsman is the fourth best of all-time
  • Scored 14 of his 15 centuries as an opening batsman
  • One of only two players to twice receive Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year Award (1909 & 1926)
  • Among openers who have scored 5,000 runs, his average of 56.37 is the third-best
  • Scored 5410 Test runs which was the highest for any batsman at the time of his retirement

Knott was a permanent feature of England scorecards during the 10-year period of 1967 to 1977.  England played 93 Test matches during this phase, and Knott appeared in 89 of them — 20 more than any other England cricketer.

In a side that is historically not reputed for the constancy of selection, Knott was a fixture that it was forbidden to tamper with.  Keith Fletcher, who played as many as 51 Test matches alongside him, does not remember a single dropped chance or fumbled stumping.

Ray Illingworth, not one to shower accolades on fellow cricketers, once remarked that Knott was streets ahead of the rest of his peers.

 

Career Statistics 

Full name: Alan Philip Eric Knott

Born: 9 April 1946 (age 74)

Place of Birth: Belvedere, Kent

Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)

Batting: Right-handed

Bowling: Right-arm off-spin

Role: Wicketkeeper

 Tests

England (1967-1981)

Mat      Inns    NO   Runs     HS     Ave      100     50       Ct    St

95         149       15    4389     135   32.75            5     30       250  19

 

Career Highlights

  • Wisden Cricketer of the Year (1970)
  • 1st wicketkeeper to 250 dismissals in Tests
  • 8th all-time for most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in Tests (269)

Sir Leonard Hutton, nevermind being a great opener, is undoubtedly among the greatest batsmen to ever live. Playing for England during the middle of the Second World War meant he only played 79 Tests despite having a career that spanned some 20 years. He used the active period during those 20 years to form a reputation for having a voracious appetite for scoring runs. By the time he was 21 years old, he had already established himself as a fine first-class cricketer, putting together a season of County Cricket totalling 2,888 runs at an average of 56.62. It was no surprise that a year after his debut in 1937, he would score 364 against Australia, batting for a mammoth 13 hours until England had posted 770. The runs would continue to flow after the second World War even as England’s fortunes diminished. He twice carried his bat during this period as he scored 19 centuries and 33 half-centuries at an average of 56.67. Hutton was the most correct player of his time, the batsman reading everything about batting by the time he was 17. But outside of being technically correct, he could go from being obdurate and sure in defence to completely savage and uncontrollable like he did against the West Indies when he scored 196 at Lord’s. The last 96 runs of that innings came in just 95 minutes of batting.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Leonard Hutton

Born: June 23, 1916

Place of birth: Fulneck, Pudsey, Yorkshire

Major Teams: England, Yorkshire

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: leg break

 

Batting averages

England (1937-1955)

            Mat    Inns    NO   Runs   HS     Ave    100    50    

Tests:   79     138    15      6971    364    56.67     19     33    

 

Achievements

  • Former record holder for highest individual Test score (1938-1958)
  • Highest score of 364 is still England’s all-time record
  • Average of 56.48 as an opening batsman is the third-best all-time
  • Scored 19 centuries in 138 Test innings
  • Knighted for his contributions to cricket in 1956

Money-spinning matches featuring the England men's team must take priority over women's internationals this year.

That was the message on Wednesday from Clare Connor, director of women's cricket at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), saying it was "a hit we might have to take".

Former England all-rounder Connor is realistic about the possibility of the women's team being unable to play a full programme of internationals, given the coronavirus pandemic could mean available and safe venues for cricket are limited.

And with men's broadcast deals so lucrative, particularly at a time when behind-closed-doors games are emerging as a best-case scenario, it is set to be the England teams skippered by Joe Root and Eoin Morgan that are prioritised by the ECB.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison this week told a UK government Digital, Culture, Media and Sport panel the organisation risked losing up to £380million this year due to the COVID-19 effect.

Connor, quoted widely by UK media on Wednesday, said: "If the international women's schedule can't be fulfilled in full but a large amount of the international men's programme can this summer, which is going to reduce that £380million hole, we have to be realistic about that.

"In order for the whole game to survive, the financial necessity rests upon many of those international men's matches being fulfilled."

She added: "If we have to play less international women's cricket this summer to safeguard the longer-term future and investment and building the infrastructure for a more stable and sustainable women's game, then that is probably a hit we might have to take."

Connor stressed she would be "devastated" if England cannot play any international women's cricket during the coming months.

A June-July series against India must be reorganised because cricket in England has been suspended until July 1 at the earliest, while South Africa's women are due to tour in September.

Connor said: "But we're only going to have a few venues, if any, in operation and if that ends up being two bio-secure environments or three, there's only a certain number of days to try to cram everything into."

News the Bundesliga is set to return this month means fans will soon be able to enjoy the next chapter of Jadon Sancho's rapid rise.

Football's hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped the England winger being linked with big-money moves to the Premier League, but his immediate focus will be Borussia Dortmund's bid to unseat long-reigning champions Bayern Munich.

In terms of his output, particularly when it comes to goals and assists, he is rivalling Europe's elite players and compares favourably to Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe in 2019-20.

With the help of Opta statistics, we have reviewed some of the most interesting numbers from Sancho's career to date.


IMPROVING EVERY YEAR

Sancho has averaged a goal or assist every 82 minutes in his Bundesliga career.

His first season in 2017-18 saw him either score or create a goal every 137 minutes, but that rate improved spectacularly to 95 minutes in 2018-19.

This term, Sancho has racked up a sublime tally of 14 goals and 15 assists, and has scored or set up one of his team-mates every 62 minutes he spends on the pitch.

Sancho's tally of 15 assists in 23 league matches this season is already higher than the 14 he managed when playing all 34 top-flight games in the previous campaign.

The same can be said for his goal tally of 14, given he managed 12 in the entirety of 2018-19.

That improvement can also be seen in his shot conversion rate, which was 10 per cent in his first season before improving to 30 and 31 per cent respectively.

In an ideal combination, his accuracy is going in the right direction at a time where he is taking more attempts, with Sancho having attempted 45 shots this season in 1,806 minutes, compared to 40 in 2,459 a season ago.


RIVALING EUROPE'S ELITE

Only two players in Europe's top-five leagues have a better record than Sancho when it comes to goals and assists this season.

Ciro Immobile has produced 34 (27 goals and seven assists), with Lionel Messi on 31 (19 goals and 12 assists), just ahead of Sancho's 29.

Timo Werner, Robert Lewandowski, Kevin De Bruyne, Ronaldo and Mbappe have all enjoyed fine campaigns but they rank behind Sancho.

Stretching the timeframe back to the start of last season, when Sancho became a first-team regular, he again sits near the top of the charts.

The England international has 55 goal involvements over that timespan, with 26 goals and 29 assists.

Barcelona's Messi is out on his own at the top with 80 (55 goals and 25 assists), with Mbappe (63) and Lewandowski (57) the only other players above Sancho.

That means the 20-year-old is above the likes of Ronaldo (53) and Mohamed Salah (52) over an extended period.

Misbah-ul-Haq says the prospect of Pakistan facing England behind closed doors is "not ideal" but believes it could provide a much-needed lift for "depressed" cricket lovers.

Pakistan are due to start a three-match Test series against Joe Root's side at Lord's on July 30, with three Twenty20 matches also on the itinerary

The coronavirus pandemic has left that schedule in doubt, with England's Test series versus West Indies already having been postponed.

Spectators appear unlikely to be allowed in to venues if and when cricket returns and although Misbah would be disappointed to see the tourists play at empty venues, he thinks international action can help to lift the gloom.

The Pakistan head coach and chief selector told Stats Perform: "It's not ideal obviously, you'd love to go there and perform in an atmosphere with spectators - they are the most important part of any sport.

"It's not ideal, but if you look at it another way, people are mostly locked down in their homes and no sport is going on at the moment.

"They have nothing to watch and mostly COVID-19 news everywhere and people are depressed. In that sort of situation, if we can start sports, if we can start cricket, at least fans can watch that cricket on TV sitting at home and they can enjoy it.

"If you look at in that way, I think if we can do that with proper safety barriers and nobody is in danger, I think we can just go ahead and start from somewhere."

Misbah expects Pakistan players to be ready to hit the ground running when they are able to take to the field again.

He said: "I think in this situation, it's more towards individual responsibility as professionals; what we can do, how we are working.

"We are obviously just trying to communicate to the players that whenever we hit the ground again, the basic thing we need would be fitness. Obviously if we are fit enough, if we maintain our fitness levels, we can regain our form or skill quickly.

"If we lose our fitness in these isolation periods then it's going to be tough because once we are back on the job it will be difficult for us to either work on the skill or fitness. it's important for the players to physically and mentally prepare yourself."

Ben Stokes has vowed England will produce showstopping performances when cricket returns - even if the stands are empty.

After last year's Cricket World Cup and Headingley Ashes heroics, all-rounder Stokes and England would have been a hot ticket this year, and they were looking forward to a home series against West Indies.

A three-Test series in June has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but there are hopes it could take place later in the year.

It seems inevitable the matches will be played behind closed doors, however, if they happen at all.

Asked whether the absence of spectators could mean a competitive edge being diminished, Stokes said: "No, I don't think so whatsoever.

"If you think about it, we're walking out to represent our country, we've got the Three Lions on our chest and there's a game in front of us for us to win.

"Whether that's in front of nobody or like we're used to in front of a full crowd, I don't think it's going to take that competitive side away.

"It's just going to be a completely different scenario for us to get our head around, that there isn't going to be the atmosphere or the cheering that we're used to when we're playing an international game.

"We would do anything to get cricket back on the TVs and for people to follow and watch, and if that means we have to play in front of nobody then so be it."

Stokes, who said he has never run more than eight kilometres in a single stretch before, was setting out to complete a half-marathon on Tuesday to raise money for NHS Charities Together and Chance To Shine.

He is waiting for the green light to return to cricket training, and eventually the go-ahead to return to the field of play for a resumption of competition.

Like everybody with an interest in cricket, he is waiting to hear from the powers-that-be.

Stokes told BBC Radio 5 Live: "There's always plans being put in place and spoken about, but we're still not 100 per cent sure on what's going to happen and when's that going to happen.

"Everybody's main concern at the moment when these chats are happening is the safety and wellbeing of everybody, because at the end of the day that is the most important thing to us as players and the ECB [England and Wales Cricket Board] as a business.

"They're not going to push anything until everybody is satisfied they can operate without having to worry that people are going to be exposed or put in danger to anything.

"Cricket is just a sport and the health, safety and wellbeing of everybody involved, not just in the team but around the cricket community, is the most important thing right now."

Stuart Broad has laid down the marker for England team-mate Ben Stokes ahead of the cricket stars competing in the Formula One Virtual Grand Prix on Sunday.

Broad and Stokes will take to the track along with professional drivers including Charles Leclerc and Alex Albon, plus Italy footballer Alessio Romagnoli, for a virtual race on the Interlagos course in Brazil.

Paceman Broad will be racing for Scuderia AlphaTauri, while Stokes will be competing alongside Albon for Red Bull.

But despite having practised alongside his team-mate this week, Broad has no intention of giving Stokes an easy ride on Sunday.

"I'm taking part in the Virtual GP this weekend at Interlagos, Brazil, racing for Scuderia AlphaTauri," Broad said in a video on F1's official Twitter account.

"I vow to do the team proud and when I say proud, that doesn't mean bring points home, it means to beat Ben Stokes – my England cricket team-mate.

"There's a good rivalry on this track, we've been training hard this week, getting in about 100 laps a day.

"We've been learning off each other about different strategies and stuff but when the race starts, battle is on, Stokesy!"

The Formula One season has yet to get under way due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with the first track action set to take place in Austria in early July.

England batsman Jason Roy is eager to play matches behind closed doors in order to get international cricket back up and running.

Roy acknowledged he feels like a "pawn in the sporting world" amid the coronavirus pandemic and will not needlessly put himself at risk.

But once it is deemed safe to play matches, he is keen to do so even if it means the unusual prospect of international matches taking place without spectators present.

"I'm more than happy to play behind closed doors [in England]," Roy told reporters. 

"I just want to play some cricket, to be honest. For us to be able to go out and play some cricket would be an incredible feeling. 

"It feels weird. I feel like a kid again but I guess we are governed by the government. There are way bigger things going on.

"I won't be going to my bosses and saying, 'Put me in the front line'. I'll just get told what to do. I'm just a pawn in the sporting world.

"Everyone is missing sport, but safety comes first. If an individual wants to go on to the front line and put himself at risk, then good on him, but if somebody doesn't want to, I don't think they should be criticised. 

"I've got a huge amount of trust in the ECB. I think they will look at every single avenue and I'll probably have a chat with Morgs [limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan], see where his head's at and go with that.

"I'm going a bit stir crazy. I’ve got a bat and I’m just shadow-batting in the mirror – I’m looking pretty good! That’s all I can do apart from hitting a tennis ball against the wall here at home.

"I think all of the boys are on edge, waiting for the call - so we know if we've got a month's turnaround or six weeks to get in the net and hit some balls. The boys will be as ready as they can be."

Roy has experience of playing a recent competitive match behind closed doors.

He played in February's Pakistan Super League contest between Quetta Gladiators and Lahore Qalandars with no spectators present as COVID-19 was beginning to spread.

"There was no atmosphere - it was as simple as that," reflected Roy. "It was a very strange feeling.

"As a batsman I'm used to it being relatively quiet with the bowler running in - you learn to block out the crowd - but as soon as that ball is done you hear the crowd going absolutely berserk.

"Over there, when that was the case, it was just like dead silence - it was the strangest thing. You could hear your mate calling for ones and twos. 

"You don't have to work on body language. It was quite strange and quite hard to get up for but it was just something that we knew we had to deal with."

Atletico Madrid and England defender Kieran Trippier has been hit with a misconduct charge over allegedly breaching Football Association (FA) betting regulations.

The former Tottenham full-back is alleged to have breached rules E8(1)(a) and E8(1)(b) last July.

Rule E8(1)(a) states: "A participant shall not bet, either directly or indirectly, or instruct, permit, cause or enable any person to bet on – (i) the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in or in connection with, a football match or competition; or (ii) any other matter concerning or related to football anywhere in the world, including, for example and without limitation, the transfer of players, employment of managers, team selection or disciplinary matters."

While Rule E8(1)(b) stipulates: "Where a participant provides to any other person any information relating to football which the participant has obtained by virtue of his or her position within the game and which is not publicly available at that time, the participant shall be in breach of this rule where any of that information is used by that other person for, or in relation to, betting."

Trippier has until May 18 to respond to the charges. 

The 29-year-old joined Atleti from Spurs in July 2019 on a three-year deal for a reported fee of $25million.

Australia have replaced India at the top of the ICC Test rankings and are also the number one Twenty20 side in the world.

India had been the top-ranked Test side since October 2016 but have dropped to third behind Tim Paine's men and New Zealand.

Australia lead the way with 116 points, with the Black Caps on 115 and Virat Kohli's side - still top of the Test Championship - amassing 114. South Africa dropped below Sri Lanka into sixth spot.

Results from 2016-17 were wiped off when the latest rankings were calculated, with matches played since May last year rated at 100 per cent and those from the previous two years 50 per cent.

Australia drew the Ashes series in England 2-2 last year before whitewashing Pakistan and New Zealand on home soil. 

There have been plenty of changes in the T20 order, with Australia rising to the summit for the first time since rankings were introduced in 2011.

They replace Pakistan, who slip to fourth, with England up to second and India into third.

World champions England have increased their advantage over India at the top of the ODI rankings to eight points.

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