England, West Indies to honour Sir Ian Botham and Sir Viv Richards and play for Richards-Botham Trophy

England, West Indies to honour Sir Ian Botham and Sir Viv Richards and play for Richards-Botham Trophy

July 23, 2020

England and West Indies will honour Sir Ian Botham and Sir Vivian Richards by competing for the Richards-Botham Trophy when they next meet in a Test series.

The two nations are currently battling for possession of the Wisden Trophy with this summer’s series tied at 1-1 with one match to play, at Emirates Old Trafford from Friday.

But the teams will square off for a new prize in future, one which will pay tribute to ex-England all-rounder Botham and former Windies batsman Richards.

Botham and Richards were involved in many epic matches between the two sides but are also close friends, stretching back to their time playing alongside each other at Somerset in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Wisden Trophy, first introduced in 1963 to commemorate the 100th edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, will now be retired and be displayed in the MCC Museum at Lord’s.

Speaking about the Richards-Botham Trophy, Richards – who scored 8,540 runs in 121 Tests at an average of 50.23 – said: “This is a huge honour for my good friend Ian and myself.

“I am delighted to know that the game that I have shown my love for since a little boy is naming such a prestigious award in recognition of what I managed to achieve as a cricketer.

“When I had the opportunity to go to England and represent Somerset, one of the first persons I met was Ian Botham, who would later become one of my best friends. We are friends for life.

“To have this trophy – West Indies vs England – named in honour of our work on the cricket field is great. What I think is also remarkable is that it says a lot about our relationship off the field as well.

“We were competitors on the field, but we showed we were brothers off the field. I’m proud to have my name on one side of the trophy with him on the other side.”

Botham – who scored more 5,200 runs and took 383 wickets in 102 Tests – added: “Viv was the finest batsman I ever played against. He’s a great friend but we’ve always been competitive, not least when we were on the cricket field, and there was no one else’s wicket I would treasure more.

“Playing the West Indies was always one of the toughest tests in cricket, and it’s an honour for this trophy to bear our names. I hope future series will be just as exciting as the one we’ve all been enjoying this summer.”

Richards averaged 62.36 against England in 36 Tests, with eight hundreds, including scores of 291 and 232 in the 1976 series as he averaged 118.42 and helped West Indies record a 3-0 series win.

The Antiguan also smashed a 56-ball century against England in St John’s in 1986 which remained the fastest Test hundred – along with former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq’s 56-ball hundred against Australia in Dubai in 2014 – until ex-New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum’s 54-ball century against Australia in Christchurch in 2016.

Botham took 61 wickets at an average of 35 against West Indies, with three five-wicket hauls and a best of 8-103 at Lord’s in 1984, when Richards was one of his victims – Beefy’s top-score against West Indies was 81 and also came in that match at Lord’s.

ECB chairman Colin Graves said: “Both we and Cricket West Indies felt that the time was right to honour two of our greatest modern players.

“Sir Vivian and Sir Ian were fierce competitors on the pitch but great friends off it, exemplifying the spirit of the contests between our two cricketing nations and providing perfect inspiration for those who compete for the Richards-Botham Trophy in years to come.”

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