ASKING temperamental Ian Botham to put his bat behind his head got me a strange look, but he did it anyway.
It was 1987, England and Somerset’s cricket sensation Ian Botham had followed Viv Richards and Joel Garner out of Somerset Country Cricket Club, devastating local cricket fans.
Botham had been signed by Worcester CC where he played for five seasons. This departure by the West Indian legends Richards and Garner followed by Botham hit the fans for six.
So, a week away from Botham returning to Somerset with Worcester, sport reporter Lee Colman and myself were sent chasing an exclusive story with pictures on how he was feeling about returning.
We hadn’t arranged any meeting with the man, we just played it by ear using experience and luck. I knew what sort of questions Lee was going to ask so thought it was a good idea to get the pictures done first, just in case Lee touched a nerve with his questions and brought an abrupt end to the interview – Worcester is a bloody long way to drive and come back without pictures and no story!
I don’t think Botham was altogether happy with parts of the story which published in a few national newspapers but I heard him say in his own words that he was going to play as hard as he could to beat his opposition even if it was Somerset, well that was the printable gist of what he said.
A very professional attitude from a very competitive sportsman.