The cricket boards of England and West Indies honoured Sir Ian Botham and Sir Vivian Richards ahead of the series-decider at Old Trafford in Manchester on Friday. The two nations are currently battling for the Wisden Trophy, but the teams will now play for a new title in future. This one will pay tribute to former internationals, Botham and Richards.
It all happened after former England captain Mike Atherton suggested that teams should compete for the trophy named after legendary cricketers just like when Australia and India play for the (Allan) Border-(Sunil) Gavaskar Trophy.
Both Botham and Richards are close friends. They were team-mates at English county Somerset before becoming opponents on the world stage.
Richards, who scored 8,540 runs in 121 Tests at an average of 50.23, spoke about the new idea and expressed his excitement.
“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,” said Richards as quoted by SkySports.
“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,” he added.
Botham also dropped his thoughts regarding the new trophy and said: “Viv was the most elegant 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,” added Botham, who scored more 5,200 runs and took 383 wickets in 102 Tests for England.
“Both Cricket West Indies and we 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 the perfect inspiration for those who compete for the Richards-Botham Trophy in years to come,” said England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman, Colin Graves.