Long Time Coming

I've written more than once about Ian Botham and knighthoods. Once to wonder, as I often had over the years, why he'd never received one, and once, more recently, to welcome the rumours that he was about to do so. Now it's confirmed.

But it all goes back much longer than that. I distinctly remember asking my brother (who was - and still is - a good deal older than me and therefore knew exactly what was going to happen in the world) in the heady days of the summer of 1981 if he thought that Ian Botham would be knighted. He didn't think so and it's taken a hell of a long time - far, far, too long - for things to turn out differently.

As someone who was a young teenager - and a cricket junkie - at the time when Botham was at his best, I have a tendency to go misty-eyed and a bit irrational at times like this, but, as usual, Andrew Miller, whose relative youth probably gives him a bit more objectivity than me, strikes exactly the right note here. I particularly like one sentence: 'Botham has a rightful claim to be England's greatest living sportsman, end of story'.

Rightful claim, Andrew? To some of us it's never been in doubt.

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