Botham claims document stolen
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?’’