Botham claims doc­u­ment stolen

Townsville Bulletin - - Cricket -

IAN Botham be­lieves Eng­land‘s bowl­ing plans were ‘stolen’ as the row over the leaked doc­u­ment in­ten­si­fied yes­ter­day.

The Eng­land leg­end, a Sky Sports com­men­ta­tor, dis­puted the cir­cum­stances un­der which it is be­lieved the doc­u­ment found its way into the hands of ra­dio sta­tion ABC.

For­mer Eng­land bats­man David Gower, dis­cussing the leaked plans on Sky Sports asked Botham about how the doc­u­ment was ‘found’.

Botham said, ‘‘You say found . . . it was a stolen piece of pa­per out of the dress­ing room.’’

ABC ra­dio com­men­ta­tor Jim Maxwell felt the sta­tion had done lit­tle wrong yes­ter­day by read­ing out the plans on air.

The sta­tion was emailed a copy of Eng­land’s tac­tics for deal­ing with the Aus­tralian bats­men in the fourth Ashes Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The team be­lieve the sheet — which the ABC has now posted on its web­site — may have gone miss­ing from the dress­ing room and was pho­to­copied.

Un­for­tu­nately for Eng­land the plans ap­peared to have lit­tle im­pact as Aus­tralia reached 7-372, a lead of 213, af­ter cen­tu­ri­ons Matthew Hay­den and Andrew Sy­monds put on 279.

Maxwell told BBC Ra­dio Five Live: ‘‘It was an at­tach­ment to an email which seemed to spec­ify the plans for all the Aus­tralian bats­men.

‘‘It was a lovely bit of in­for­ma­tion about all the Aus­tralia bats­men and their weak­nesses and what Eng­land needed to do to get them out.

‘‘I don’t think it was par­tic­u­larly mis­chievous to read it out, I can’t see how any harm has been done. If this gets out into the open it is not earth­shat­ter­ing news is it?’’

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