England legend Ian Botham will be the 14th person to deliver the MCC spirit of cricket lecture © AFP


London: May 30, 2014


Ian Botham will deliver the 2014 Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s on September 3, it was announced on Friday. The England great, one of the outstanding all-rounders of his generation, will become the 14th person to give the annual address named after the late Colin Cowdrey, like Botham a former England captain.


Botham, who early in his career was on the groundstaff at Lord’s, the north-west London headquarters of MCC, as a member of the club’s Young Cricketers scheme, scored 14 hundreds and took 383 wickets — the latter still an England record — in 102 Tests from 1977-1992. The 58-year-old produced some striking displays at Lord’s, where his name appears on the honours board that records all those who’ve scored a hundred, taken five wickets in an innings or 10 in the match during a Test at ‘the home of cricket’, ten times.


Since retiring from playing, Botham has remained in the public eye as both a cricket broadcaster and newspaper columnist, as well as through his extensive charity work. Previous lecturers include South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Kumar Sangakkara, currently in England with Sri Lanka, whose speech last year examining cricket in his homeland won worldwide acclaim.


MCC president Mike Gatting, who both played under Botham for England and captained him on the team’s victorious Ashes tour of Australia in 1986/87, said in a club statement: “I am very pleased and grateful that Ian will be delivering this year’s lecture.


“As a former team-mate of mine for many years, I know how passionate he is about the game and I am looking forward to hearing what he has to say.


“He is such a big personality and has achieved almost all there is to achieve in the game so I’m sure this will be a compelling and very entertaining evening,” the former Middlesex batsman added.


“The MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture is an extremely important date for MCC, but especially so in this Lord’s Bicentenary year (the club moved to its present site in 1814).


“The Lecture always produces intriguing discussion points and I’m sure this year will be no different.”


Although it is more than 40 years since MCC ceased to run English cricket, it retains worldwide responsibility for the game’s ‘Laws’, as cricket’s rules are known.