Sir Ian Botham is in bullish mood as English cricket gets ready for a double Ashes year which he hopes will feature one of the ‘best players of all time’.
That’s the cricket legend’s lofty appraisal of the ever-controversial Kevin Pietersen as England’s key batsman fights to beat a knee injury that has kept him out of action since March.
In a special interview today, the great all-rounder assesses Pietersen as one of the finest to pick up a bat. But the prospect of his absence from the Ashes which follows the current short series against New Zealand and ICC Trophy does not overly concern ‘Beefy’.
Says Botham: “The runs will come, we know that. Pietersen’s to come back into the side and Kevin is one of the best to have ever played, never mind one of the best players at the moment.”
And he reckons James Anderson, who has just joined Botham, Bob Willis and Fred Trueman in the coveted 300 Test wickets club, will break all records – including his own 383 Test scalps.
“I think he’s magnificent” he says. “He’s been the leader of the pack for a long time and will be for a long time to come.
“He gets better and better and I think he’ll get 484 (Test wickets). I think he’ll go sailing past (my record) and I can’t think of a better person to take the mantle over.”
I would have loved an Ashes double header - Big interview with Sir Ian Botham in your Weekend Express & Star